Wiggins nearing return - the Warriors need him
You never know what people are going through. And yet when someone doesn’t show up to work, that doesn’t stop people from speculating. Well, guess no more because Andrew Wiggins is back with the Golden State Warriors. From all appearances, he could well be sitting on the bench tonight, with a return to action Friday or Sunday. Yes, this is all the way down to the wire - which is pretty much on brand for how this season has gone - but he’s back!
Even now, that starting lineup with Wiggins in it is the best 5-man unit in the league by Net Rating. For a Warriors team fighting tooth and nail for playoff positioning it can’t come soon enough. Tonight will be Wiggins’ 22nd missed game. Though the team has done well enough to survive without him, Wiggins adds another needed gear to a team attempting to find a new speed for the playoffs.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (41-38) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (38-41)
WHEN: Tuesday, April 4th, 2023 // 7pm PST
Welcome back, Andrew Wiggins - You don’t have to fix everything! (but please try)
There isn’t any fully official word yet, but the NBA rumor machine has all but confirmed that Andrew Wiggins is back with the team and will be slated to appear in one of the team’s final two regular season games. The team, and all of the local media have made a point to respect the family’s request for privacy on the matter, but since it’s all out on the internet (though unconfirmed), here’s what seems to be the most germane answer to what was behind Wiggins sudden, unexplained absence.
After being out of action for so long, Wiggins isn’t immediately ready to dive back in, but the Warriors have a gentle coast across the finish line for the regular season. They play tonight against the rebuilding Thunder, and then get two days off ahead of a big Friday night showdown against newly minted playoff rival, the Sacramento Kings.
Wiggins plans to attend but not participate in tonight’s game. According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, “it remains unclear when Wiggins will actually be able to get back on the court. He has told the Warriors that he’s been working out with a personal trainer on a regular basis during his time away, spent in Minnesota.” The article goes on to point towards an assessment from the Warriors as a prerequisite to Wiggins’ return - so the extra day off this week actually works out well. In a perfect world, Wiggins would have showed up to provide a huge boost for the final home game, but showing up for the last two super important road games probably works better, from a WWE storytelling standpoint.
I’m just happy to have the guy back.
But tonight is a final warmup ahead of his return, a chance to show that the team has actually figured out a little bit around the edges. They don’t need much. Remember all the fistfuls of rings, and remember also that Wiggins led the team in blocks, was 4th in points, and 2nd in rebounds for this championship team last year in the playoffs. The return of Wiggins fixes a lot, but guys like Jonathan Kuminga have been busy in his absence.
And that’s the funniest part of this weird season: it’s really hard to tell if the Warriors are poised on the edge of figuring it all out, or crumbling like a sad cookie.
The Warriors don’t have Wiggins on the court yet, but he’s back. Hopefully that’s enough of a lift to carry them to a much needed victory tonight.
I’m just happy Wiggs is back. Warriors win, of course.