The reticent defending champs had not experienced that. The All-Star forward hasn’t played since last donning the uniform on February 13 against the Washington Wizards, and we still don’t know why.
We do know that for Golden State to repeat as NBA champions, he must be a two-way player on the floor. Even if what Wiggins is going through off the court takes precedence, that has been a major concern as the NBA regular season comes to a close.
Stephen Curry, the Warriors’ standout guard, addressed the Wiggins issue after the team’s stunning comeback victory against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday. He continues to have faith that the former first-round selection will be ready to play again before the season is out.
The Warriors, who have a 40-37 record, are presently the sixth seed in the Western Conference as a result of their victory against New Orleans on Tuesday. To escape the play-in tournament, Golden State is just ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves by a half game. After losing a late lead on Sunday night, it also loses the tiebreaker versus Minnesota.
The Warriors must be considered one of the top Western Conference contenders with Wiggins. They could be staring at an early exit from the NBA Playoffs without Wiggins.
In the 40 games Wiggins hasn’t played in thus far this season, Golden State has a 21-19 record. However, it doesn’t even begin to give us the whole tale. His dual support of the Golden State Warriors throughout their postseason run last year was impressive.
During the postseason, Wiggins averaged 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds while protecting players like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Luka Doncic. During the NBA Finals, his performance against the latter two and their Boston Celtics squad was eye-opening.
With Curry doing his thing, Klay Thompson having a huge comeback season, and Jordan Poole making that next move, Golden State may not even need Wiggins’ scoring. Since Wiggins’ previous game, Poole has been averaging 20 points each contest.
It’s all about his superior defense, however. Wiggins has shown his ability to bang with big men inside while being able to defend a variety of spots on the perimeter.
Having Wiggins on the floor would be beneficial since a possible first-round playoff meeting against the Phoenix Suns and former Warriors star Kevin Durant is approaching.
However, as has been clear over the course of this whole process, the Golden State Warriors absolutely feel that whatever Wiggins is going through personally takes priority over basketball. That is how things ought to be.