The Golden State Warriors have spent more than a quarter of their season missing their starting small forward, as Andrew Wiggins has been away from the team due to an undisclosed personal matter.
While the team and Wiggins have kept whatever he and his family are dealing with private, it has unquestionably impacted the Warriors’ struggles in the second half of the season, as they’ve hovered near .500, narrowly holding a half-game lead for the sixth and final guaranteed playoff position in the West with three games left in the season. As we get set for the final week of the regular season, some good news emerged for the Warriors as Adrian Wojnarowski reports Wiggins is expected to return later this week.
ESPN Sources: Golden State Warriors All-Star forward Andrew Wiggins is nearing a return to the team and is expected to be back early this week. Wiggins has missed 21 games attending to a family matter. Huge boost for the defending champions and sixth seed in the West. pic.twitter.com/bQAw8ixINI
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 3, 2023
The Warriors host the Thunder on Tuesday night before closing their season in Sacramento (Friday) and Portland (Sunday). One would think Wiggins would need some kind of ramp up time after his months-long absence, meaning Friday’s tilt with the Kings feels like the likely return date for him given the information Woj provided.
That is huge news for Golden State which has simply not been able to be as effective on either end of the floor without Wiggins, particularly defensively where their lack of wing depth has been noticeable, especially on the road. A year ago, Wiggins was arguably their second-best player during the title run, and his presence is vital to their ability to be a legitimate contender in the West. Whether he can reach that level again remains to be seen given the rust he might have from a lengthy absence, but his return will be a welcome sight for the Warriors faithful as he will hopefully stabilize their defense and raise the team’s overall floor.