After being named to his first All-Star team in 2022 and being the second-best player on a championship team in the same season, things haven't gone so fluently for Andrew Wiggins over the last 12 months.
Following a strong start to last season, Wiggins dealt with an adductor injury and subsequently missed 15 games. It was the longest injury stretch of his career, and he was no sooner back than he missed the final 25 games of the regular season due to a personal matter. He returned for the playoffs, only to suffer a rib fracture that impacted his play at the end of the Warriors' second-round series loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Some within the Golden State Warriors were reportedly left 'annoyed' by Andrew Wiggins' lack of conditioning to start this season.
It turns out that rib injury may still be effecting Wiggins' lack of production so far this season, with the Canadian currently averaging 12.8 points on 43.4% from the floor and 26.7% from three-point range -- he's never averaged under 16.9 points in any of his previous nine seasons.
Wiggins hasn't been himself, seemingly from both a physical and confidence standpoint. According to ESPN's Kendra Andrews, the 28-year-old's conditioning wasn't ideal coming into training camp, leading to some frustration among the franchise.
"..."Sources told ESPN that after missing two months last season over a still undisclosed personal matter, he didn't take the time necessary during the summer to get back into shape ahead of this season. His lack of physical conditioning annoyed some within the organization, a team source added.""- ESPN's Kendra Andrews
Physical conditioning has rarely been an issue for Wiggins in the past, having never missed more than 11 games in a year before last season. But with the extended personal absence followed by the rib injury, it appears Wiggins' response wasn't ideal.
However, just hours after Andrews' report was released, Wiggins kept his mind on the job to be Golden State's best player in a heartbreaking loss to the Sacramento Kings. It was a positive performance from him, even if it's the second time this season that the Warriors have wasted a very good Wiggins game.
He had 18 points in the first-half, scoring in a variety of ways from beyond the three-point line, pull-up mid-ranges and post-up opportunities. His last basket of the game, a tip layup from a Draymond Green miss, put Golden State in control up five with a minute left. Instead, a pair of costly turnovers from Green and Stephen Curry saw defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.
Wiggins finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds on 11-18 shooting, also crucially making 5-6 free-throw attempts. It was an excellent response from the report that blatantly questioned his professionalism over the offseason.
The Warriors desperately need Wiggins to rediscover somewhere near his best form on a consistent basis, with far too much reliance currently placed on Curry. Tuesday night was just the second time the former first overall pick has scored more than 17 points this season, but it did remind everyone that he's still capable of great heights.