Andrew Wiggins Golden State Warriors
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Andrew Wiggins was named an All-Star starter on Thursday night, and it didn't take long for the takes to start flying about the need to scrap the voting system that produced such a result. Get rid of positions. Don't weigh the fan vote so heavily. I echo both those gripes, though I'd point out that the players, 25 of whom voted for Kyrie Irving as a starter, are just as ignorant as many of the fans. Either way, I'm not here to argue that Wiggins is worthy of being an All-Star starter. He isn't. 

Every player on this list of starter snubs is better than Wiggins. So are Luka Doncic, Devin Booker and Donovan Mitchell, all three of whom had to be selected to one of the two guard spots, while Wiggins got the benefit of being deemed a front-court player, where three slots were available. 

In the East, DeMar DeRozan went in as a guard despite playing virtually all his minutes this season as a forward. Stupid. All these guys are perimeter players. Enough with these antiquated and arbitrary positional designations. And shame on every last voter who checked a box for Wiggins over his own teammate, Draymond Green, whose irreplaceable value to the Warriors has been further magnified in his absence. 

All this said, let's not use this as a platform to disparage the merits of Wiggins. He shouldn't be a starter, but he's a worthy All-Star, and that's not a sentence very many people thought they'd ever read. The shift in Wiggins' career narrative has been extraordinary. Many of the fans who voted for him were likely the same people who mocked him in Minnesota, where he was widely regarded as one of the most overpaid, inefficient, defensively apathetic players in the league. 

Now, he's an elite defender who takes the toughest perimeter assignments. Even when Green is off the floor, the Warriors, entering play on Thursday, boast a 104.9 defensive rating with Wiggins on, per Cleaning the Glass, which would rank as the second-best mark in the league, behind only Golden State's overall league-leading mark of 103.6. Wiggins being central to both those numbers is not debatable. 

On the other end, Wiggins is one of just five players averaging at least 18 points while shooting at least 48 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3 on at least five 3-point attempts per game (the other two are Zach LaVine and Karl-Anthony Towns). 

Whereas some outside players have struggled to find their rhythm within Golden State's impromptu, read-and-react system, Wiggins looks like he's been there his whole career. He doesn't force shots. He has largely eliminated his worst isolation instincts while cutting his midrange attempts considerably. He cuts and spaces the floor and ranks in the 85th percentile as a spot-up shooter, per Synergy. 

That said, Wiggins' ability to create his own shot is still a valuable tool, mostly late in the clock when all of the Warriors' movement has been stymied. Wiggins ranks in the 90th percentile with 1.15 points per possession when the shot clock is at four seconds or under, per Synergy. 

All told, Wiggins' 115.9 points per 100 shots attempts, per Cleaning the Glass, is a more efficient scoring mark than the likes of Devin Booker, Jaylen Brown and Bradley Beal and within the neighborhood of DeMar DeRozan and even Stephen Curry. He has gone from a guy who was, effectively, deemed a loser with the Timberwolves, to a guy who was seen as potential salary filler in a Warriors trade that has yet to happen, to an indispensable component of a championship contender. 

"Man, one of the proudest moments I've had as a coach, just to see what Wiggs has done since he got here," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Wiggins' first All-Star selection. "... I just could not be any happier for him. The whole organization is just glowing right now."

Again, Wiggins shouldn't be starting in the All-Star Game. But the fact that he's even in the conversation speaks volumes about how far he's come. Yes, the fans got him in, but the players, his NBA peers, voted him No. 5 among all front-court players. This is nothing short of amazing. This is a guy whose reputation throughout the league was nearing rock bottom a couple of years ago. To have turned the narrative this quickly, and, ironically, in such an understated way, is something that should be celebrated, even if everyone's first instinct is going to be to criticize the selection.