Warriors Welcome Back Former No. 1 Pick

Andrew Wiggins, Warriors

Getty Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors goes for a rebound against Neemias Queta #88 of the Boston Celtics.

The streaking Golden State Warriors welcome back Andrew Wiggins in time for their Christmas Day showdown against the defending champion Denver Nuggets.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr shared the good news with reporters after Wiggins missed the last two games due to illness.

Wiggins, the 2014 no. 1 pick, will remain with the second unit in his return.

In three games since his demotion, Wiggins averaged 16.0 points on 56.7 percent shooting with 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks in 25.9 minutes off the bench.

After his 25-point explosion against Portland on December 17, Wiggins broke his silence over his removal from the starting unit.

“It’s different, different for sure,” a surprised Wiggins told reporters of his new role off the bench. “It’s another thing I have to deal with. Whatever happens happens. Of course, I want to get back to my normal spot. But it could take time, who knows? I can’t really dwell on something that’s a decision made by somebody [else]. I just have to keep playing, keep staying aggressive, stay in the gym and just try to do the right things.

“Anything can happen in this league. I’m blessed to be here and if I want to get out of this little doghouse I just have to keep fighting my way out.”

The Warriors are 5-1, including winning five straight, since they rolled a new starting lineup that has third-year Jonathan Kuminga and rookie Brandin Podziemski in place of Wiggins and the suspended Draymond Green.

Draymond Green Nears Return

Green is working closely with the NBA, NBPA and the Warriors toward an eventual return that could come as soon as January.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, “there’s a general belief that his suspension will cover a range of 11 to 13 games — barring any setbacks.”

Green will miss his seventh game on Christmas Day when the Warriors visit the defending champion Denver Nuggets. The Warriors’ 13th straight game without Green will be on January 7 against the Toronto Raptors.

Wojnarowski reported that Green is undergoing periodic virtual meetings with the NBA, NBPA and the Warriors to chart his progress aside from undergoing counseling.

“These Zoom meetings are playing a role in how the NBA, National Basketball Players Association and the Warriors measure Green’s progress toward working through whatever issues might have contributed to repeated violent episodes with opponents and a former teammate, sources said,” Wojnarowski wrote.

Klay Thompson Regains Golden Touch

Klay Thompson headed to the Mile High City scorching hot in December.

After a cold start to the season, the 33-year-old Thompson has regained his golden touch, averaging 21.1 points on 42.4% 3-point shooting this month.

Thompson is one of the major reasons for the Warriors’ turnaround. They are now 15-14, above .500 for the first time since their 6-2 start.

During this Warriors’ five-game win streak, Thompson is averaging 24.8 points on 51.7% overall shooting and 46.2% from deep.

“Shot selection is the biggest thing with Klay,” Kerr told reporters after Thompson led them with 28 points on a December 23 win over the Trail Blazers. “Over the last five games, he’s just taking better shots and as a result, our team is more settled.”

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