Warriors Coach’s Answer Raises More Questions on Andrew Wiggins Absence

Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins

Getty Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after a three-point shot against the Phoenix Suns.

Golden State Warriors‘ former All-Star forward Andrew Wiggins has regained his rhythm since he remained with the team past the trade deadline. So, it came as a surprise when he was announced as not with the team at the start of their four-game road trip on the East Coast.

Adding more mystery to Wiggins’s absence is Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr‘s vague explanation when asked if it’s just a one-game off or longer.

“We don’t know,” Kerr said, before the Warriors beat the Washington Wizards, via The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “We’ll obviously respect Andrew’s wishes for this to remain private for private and personal reasons. Then we’ll just go from there.”

Wiggins also missed two months last season due to undisclosed personal reasons.

Moses Moody, who was out of the rotation when he returned from a calf strain, seized the opportunity in Wiggins’ mysterious absence.

The 21-year-old Moody scored 12 points, all from beyond the arc, as Golden State coasted to a 123-112 win in Washington. It was close to Wiggins’ 15.3-point average over his past 9 games.

Moody added 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals in 23 minutes of a spot start.

The Warriors have fielded trade offers for Wiggins before the trade deadline, “but nothing has them jump,” according to Slater.

Wiggins will miss second straight game when the Warriors continue their road trip against the banged-up New York Knicks on Thursday, February 29, at Madison Square Garden.

Chris Paul’s Return Boosts Warriors’ 2nd Unit

Chris Paul‘s return also helped mitigate Wiggins’ absence and Stephen Curry going scoreless in the first half. Curry still finished with 18 points while Paul contributed 9 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals.

Paul’s return also boosted Klay Thompson, who exploded for 25 points on 6 of 11 3-point shooting off the bench to pace the Warriors balanced offensive attack.

“We’ve been playing pretty well over the last month or so,” Kerr told reporters at Capital One Arena. “But we’ve really been looking forward to getting Chris back. You could see why tonight. He’s a plus-17 in 21 minutes, always in control of the game. The way we closed the third quarter was really important, and he was at the helm.”

The Warriors bench scored a staggering 59 points — 47 came from Thompson, Paul and Gary Payton II, who had 13 points and 3 steals.

“What a luxury to come off the bench with Chris Paul and Klay Thompson,” Kerr said. “That’s crazy. I said this before the game, but it feels like we’ve kind of found a nice combination of a starting group that we’ve been able to count on over the last month and a second unit that’s been good all year. But adding Klay to that only makes it better.”

Steph Curry Hopes Chris Paul Elevates Warriors to Another Level

It’s just one game but it appears Curry’s hope that Paul’s return will help the Warriors reach another level will come true.

“We’ve built some momentum since he’s been out,” Curry said before Paul’s comeback game from hand surgery. “But he’s such a connector, floor general, and a guy that gets everybody in the right spot. So, when I’m on the bench or the rotations when we’re on the court at the same time, it will hopefully elevate us to another level when he gets comfortable and gets his legs underneath him. That, on top of how we’ve been playing, outside of tonight, hopefully that will allow us to keep building.”

Paul did exactly like that in the second half when he came in and led the Warriors to a 17-2 run that broke the game wide open.



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