Although he is playing the fewest minutes of his NBA career, Andrew Wiggins has carried a major load for the Warriors so far this season. In addition to being the team's No. 2 option on the offensive end, Wiggins has been tasked with defending the best wings from around the NBA night in and night out.
As the Warriors gear up to start the second half of the schedule on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, coach Steve Kerr hopes Wiggins emerges from the week-long All-Star break rested and ready to work.
"I think Andrew was a little tired going into the break, he's had a pretty big role defensively guarding the toughest players in the league night after night," Kerr told reporters on Wednesday. "A lot of games, lot of minutes, so this was a very natural time for Andrew to maybe feel a little fatigued. And I talked to him, he had a great break with his family and I think he'll be refreshed and recharged."
Wiggins struggled a bit down the stretch of the first half, as his shooting percentage from 3-point range was above 40 percent through the first 20 games, but dipped to just 28.6 percent over the remaining 17 games. Kerr acknowledged the struggles from his small forward, but knows the seven-year veteran understands the peaks and valleys of an NBA season.
"He's been in the league for a while now, you sort of come to grips with that, there's a lot of ups and downs in this league and you just have to keep plowing forward," Kerr continued.
The Warriors are in ninth place in the Western Conference entering the second half of the NBA season, just within the margin for a spot in one of the two play-in series for a playoff spot in this year's expanded postseason.
Steph Curry unquestionably is playing some of the best basketball of his NBA career in year No. 12, and especially after winning the 3-point contest and lighting up the arena in the All-Star Game, he will be motivated to play even better the rest of the way.
His teammates like Wiggins, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Draymond Green must continue to offer Curry more support on the offensive end if the Warriors want to climb up out of the play-in spots before the postseason.
It sounds like Wiggins got the chance to unwind and refresh his body during the midseason break, and the Warriors will need every ounce of his energy on both ends in order to complete that climb up the standings.