One Western Conference coach believes that the Golden State Warriors are facing the decision of possibly needing to bench forward Andrew Wiggins at this point in the 2023-24 season.
Golden State is off to a slow start, sitting in the No. 11 spot in the Western Conference with a 10-12 record this season.
With the team featuring aging stars like Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry, it may not be able to wait for Wiggins to start playing better in order to turn this season around.
“They’re being patient,” the Western Conference coach told Heavy Sports. “But with Andrew Wiggins, what are you going to do with him? I don’t know how patient they can be. It’s getting urgent. They have what it takes to be better than they are with the roster they have.”
This season, Wiggins is averaging just 12.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 42.1 percent from the field and 27.7 percent from the field.
He has subpar on/off numbers this season, as Golden State is a net minus-14.5 points per 100 possessions when Wiggins is on the floor versus when he is off the floor.
Not only that, but his numbers have taken a major hit compared to the last two seasons with Golden State. From the 2021-22 season through the 2022-23 season, Wiggins averaged 17.2 points per game while shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from 3.
He made an All-Star team over that stretch and was an integral part of Golden State’s NBA Finals run in the 2021-22 season.
The coach offered a player that could replace Wiggins in the starting lineup to bring a key spark to the Warriors.
“Moses Moody,” the coach said. “It’s not that he is better than Andrew Wiggins, it is just that he is a better fit with what they have in that starting group. They need a little hustle, they need that juice a young guy can give you. They have a lot of guys with a lot of mileage and sometimes when you drop a younger player, a hungry player, into a mix like that, it sparks those guys.”
Moody, who was a first-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, is averaging 8.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 assist in just 19.0 minutes per game this season. He’s been more efficient than Wiggins, shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Giving Moody more minutes could help the Warriors space the floor around Curry, Thompson and others in the starting lineup.
It’s hard to turn away from a proven veteran like Wiggins, but Golden State only has so much time left with its current core where it can truly compete for a title.
The team certainly doesn’t want to waste the 2023-24 season by not making a change with one of its key players struggling.
Golden State will look to get back on track on Tuesday, Dec. 12 when it takes on the Phoenix Suns.