It hasn’t been the easiest season for Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins to say the least. The breakout star of the 2022 playoffs for his stifling perimeter defense and timely shot-making, many expected Wiggins to continue making the jump, especially after earning a four-year, $109 million contract extension from the Dubs. However, a plethora of injury woes and personal problems have kept the burgeoning wing from taking the next step in his career.
Nevertheless, all is not lost. Stephen Curry, Steve Kerr, and the rest of the Warriors brass are still holding out hope that Wiggins could make his triumphant return. However, they better hope the 28-year old forward is able to sort out whatever issues he’s dealing with at the moment and be physically ready once he reports to the team again, since many feel like without his services, the Warriors will have a hard time mounting a deep playoff run, their postseason experience notwithstanding.
Speaking on ESPN’s First Take, JJ Redick expressed his concerns regarding the Warriors’ chances of making it back to the NBA Finals without Andrew Wiggins in town.
“They’re [Warriors] not winning the West without Andrew Wiggins. He was too valuable for their team last season in their finals run, particularly in the Western Conference Finals and the NBA Finals,” Redick said.
"They're [Warriors] not winning the West w/out Andrew Wiggins. He was too valuable for their team last season in their finals run, particularly in the WCF and in the NBA Finals."
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 29, 2023
Given the gauntlet that awaits them in the postseason, it’s clear why JJ Redick feels this way. For the Dubs to win the West, they will have to overcome the likes of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Edwards, Ja Morant, and De’Aaron Fox — a difficult enough task with Wiggins that becomes near impossible without him.
The 2022-23 Warriors have not been the defensive juggernaut of old, and a major factor that contributed to their drop-off on that end of the floor has been Andrew Wiggins’ absence. (Wiggins has played in just 37 of the Dubs’ 77 games.) A cursory look at the stats show that their defensive rating is 2.7 points worse without Wiggins.
But with how serious Wiggins’ off-court problems seem to be, it might be best for the Warriors to give the 28-year old forward his much-needed space as he continues to navigate some of life’s difficulties.