Former All-Star's wayward season takes another downturn at poor time for Warriors

Chicago Bulls v Golden State Warriors
Chicago Bulls v Golden State Warriors / Kavin Mistry/GettyImages

Eight games ago Andrew Wiggins was in season-best form, having rediscovered his two-way impact in a Golden State Warriors team that was thriving and surging towards a spot in the playoffs.

Then, for the second time in two seasons, Wiggins took a leave of absence for personal reasons. While that's more than justified, the 2022 All-Star has been unable to recapture that same form in his three games since return.

Andrew Wiggins' latest downturn in form has come at a bad time for the Golden State Warriors as they fight for playoff positioning

Wiggins had scored in double-figures in each of the nine games before his absence, shooting at least 50% from the floor in seven of those outings. The Canadian had played at least 23 minutes in each of the nine games, finishing with a positive plus-minus in six of them.

It may not have been the form from two years ago, but it was a highly productive Wiggins that was contributing to a successful Golden State team. In the first two games since his four-game absence, Wiggins played less than 14 minutes against the Milwaukee Bucks and just over 15 against the Chicago Bulls.

Stephen Curry's injury then caused a restructure on Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs, with Wiggins falling victim as Steve Kerr chose to replace him in the starting lineup with the lob and roll threat of Trayce Jackson-Davis.

Andrew Wiggins
Charlotte Hornets v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Wiggins played over 26 minutes off the bench, scoring 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting while adding six rebounds. It was a reasonable performance, but the Warriors needed more without Curry in the lineup.

If anything, this latest period reiterate Wiggins' value to the team. There's no coincidence that his season has almost mirrored that of the team's, having been defined largely by inconsistency over the first half of the season.

Golden State had been 7-2 in the nine games before Wiggins' absence, and are now 4-3 in the seven games since. The team look solidified with a starting lineup that had been working perfectly for a number of weeks, yet that's now been thrown into chaos with Curry's injury and Wiggins downturn in form.

Regardless of whether Curry is in the lineup or not, the Warriors need a productive Wiggins in order to maximize their best. If the 29-year-old can't provide that, there's a strong chance the franchise will miss the playoffs entirely.