Friday night's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder provided perhaps the best encapsulation of Andrew Wiggins' season to date, with head coach Steve Kerr delivering another brutal call on the Golden State Warriors' forward during the overtime period.
There were flashes of All-Star Wiggins, the impactful two-way wing that was such an integral part of the 2022 championship. He had eight points and two rebounds in the first-quarter, while also taking the assignment of Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who was kept to just four points on 2-8 shooting in the first 12 minutes.
But from there it was a passive, often indecisive Wiggins over the final three quarters and overtime. Sure, he still had his moments defensively against Gilgeous-Alexander, yet the shifty guard still proved the match-winner for OKC with 38 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Andrew Wiggins had more turnovers (five) than points (four) after the opening period of the Golden State Warriors' overtime loss on Friday
Offensively, Wiggins was not only inconspicuous as a scorer, but he also gave the ball away at a level that's quite remarkable given his usage or lack thereof. The 28-year-old had five turnovers and made just one of his six field-goal attempts in the final three quarters and overtime.
Wiggins' point-of-attack defense will always make him a staple of the Golden State lineup, particularly in the absence of Gary Payton II who continues to recover from a calf injury. Yet even that wasn't enough for the Canadian during the overtime period, with Kerr turning to others amidst Wiggins' struggles.
The former number one overall pick is no stranger to being benched down the stretch of games, having been overlooked at times earlier in the season with Chris Paul, a 12-time All-Star and future hall-of-famer, the man usually preferred.
The veteran point-guard was out with illness on Friday, so instead it was a 20-year-old rookie, Brandin Podziemski, who subbed in for Wiggins with 3:15 remaining in overtime. Jonathan Kuminga also closed the game over Wiggins, with the 2022 All-Star only returning once the third-year forward fouled out with 60 seconds remaining.
It's one thing to be benched for someone of Paul's ilk, but being relegated behind a first and third-year player is something entirely different. That's the brutal reality of where Wiggins is at right now though -- there are games where the likes of Kuminga, Podziemski and Moses Moody are simply better and more productive.
Wiggins is now averaging 12.6 points on 27.7% three-point shooting, and his two turnovers per game are the most since his 12-game stint following his trade to the Warriors in 2019-20. He's certainly not the only one who needs to improve and deliver some consistency, but Friday's game was another monumental disappointment that can't be ignored.
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