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sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors will only go as far as Andrew Wiggins will take them — with or without Steph Curry

o BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors will only go as far as Andrew Wiggins will take thAllen

BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors will only go as far as Andrew Wiggins will take them — with or without Steph Curry


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From: (Allen)
Subject: BANG/Kurtenbach:_The_Warriors_will_only_go_as_far_as_An
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2024 20:13:50 -0700
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 by: Allen - Tue, 12 Mar 2024 03:13 UTC

Kurtenbach: The Warriors will only go as far as Andrew Wiggins will take
them — with or without Steph Curry
Golden State Warriors: Andrew Wiggins' dud performance with Steph Curry
sidelined highlighted how vital he is to the Dubs' regular season and
playoff hopes.

>Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins #22 picks up a loose ball in the
first quarter of their NBA game against the LA Clippers at the Chase
Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (Jane
Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
PUBLISHED: March 11, 2024 at 5:40 a.m. | UPDATED: March 11, 2024 at 8:24

Amid a lost season, things were starting to come together for Warriors
forward Andrew Wiggins a few weeks ago. His game appeared to find a
rhythm, and the Warriors were playing great basketball.

The wing was starting to look like the guy who was the second-best
player on a title team less than 24 months ago. This was encouraging,
promising, and necessary.

Then Wiggins left the team for a week (for personal reasons), and that
momentum evaporated.

Then the basketball gods, in their infinite cruelty, turned Steph
Curry’s ankle.

That means that now, more than ever, the Warriors need Wiggins to be
that guy again.

It’s fair to wonder if he will rise to the occasion.

It’s fair to wonder if he can rise to the occasion.

And if he does, indeed, fail to lift his game, it won’t take much
imagination to see him playing on a different team next season.

Now, was Wiggins the sole reason the Warriors lost on Saturday night to
a lowly Spurs team that arrived in San Francisco without its two best
players? Of course not.

But for a player who so often blends in with the hardwood — someone who
seems to pride himself on being neither seen nor heard during games —
his inability to raise his game against the Spurs stuck out.

And so long as Curry is out of the lineup—the Warriors said they’ll
evaluate his rolled ankle on Tuesday—Wiggins will be in the spotlight.

The Warriors’ fate rests on the team’s most mercurial player.

Buckle up.

This isn’t a new thing. The Warriors’ biggest issue all season is its
lack of a true, bonafide No. 2.

They lack a Wiggins from the 2022 NBA playoffs, even while they still
have Wiggins on the roster.

Klay Thompson’s days of carrying an offense are over — even when
Thompson has an “on” night, like on Saturday, his success fails to
create a ripple effect through the entire team.

Perhaps Jonathan Kuminga can be the kind of player who can spearhead a
team in due time. But his performance on Saturday showed that his time
is not now. Sure, he scored 26 points on Saturday, but far too many were
empty calories in the fourth quarter. His game has grown impressively,
but it still has a ways to go.

Thompson and Kuminga are tertiary players for this Warriors team.
Sometimes, they can be the No. 2 to a brilliant No. 1 like Curry — a
rising tide lifts all ships, and Curry is a king tide. But without
Curry, the truth of those players becomes unavoidable.

But if Thompson and Kuminga are third options, what does that make the
Wiggins (11 points, six rebounds, one assist) we saw on Saturday?

A fourth? A fifth? Irrelevant?

Whatever it is, it’s far less than what the Warriors require.

Warriors hold off Spurs for 1st win of the season without Steph Curry
Steph Curry’s absence looms large as Warriors suffer concerning loss
to Spurs
Warriors adjusting rotation with Steph Curry sidelined
Warriors provide encouraging update on Steph Curry’s injured ankle
NBA’s ‘deepest’ Western Conference making Warriors playoff push a

If this team will only go as far as Curry will take them, in his
absence, it will only go as far as Wiggins.

And even when Curry returns, Wiggins’ role is critical. If this team has
any ideas of doing something interesting this fall, Wiggins will have to
be doing something interesting on the court.

This is the second time I’ve written this sort of column this season.
The stakes were not nearly as high the last time, in November.

But it’s inauspicious that the same questions of Wiggins are being asked
in March.

And no, I don’t think holding Wiggins to a standard he set not long ago
is too much. It is a standard that landed him a new four-year contract
with the Warriors, after all.

Luckily, Wiggins, like me, has an opportunity to rewrite. The Warriors
play the Spurs again on Monday night.

The Warriors bet on Wiggins at the NBA’s trade deadline. Steve Kerr
championed for him with the media: He was insistent that Wiggins would
round into form. To date, we’ve only seen flashes — hints at the
excellence he once embodied during the spring of 2022.

We’ll only find out once the season ends if that bet will pay out, but
early returns are not encouraging, even with that improving stretch
before his excused absence.

If Wiggins is going to be anything more than he has already been this
season — if that potential for excellence still exists — it needs to
arrive now.

Otherwise, this Warriors team, tasked with keeping its head above water
with Curry sidelined, runs the risk of drowning.

sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors will only go as far as Andrew Wiggins will take them — with or without Steph Curry


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