Wiggins to Miss the Start of the Season?

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Updated: September 28, 2021
Wiggs

After media day, Marc Spears went in-depth on ESPN’s Hoop Collective Podcast on Andrew Wiggins’ status with the Warriors and his availability for the start of the season. Without getting into the political pull between the two parties, simply, Wiggins will not comply with the new mandatory vaccination policies in San Francisco and will not be able to practice with the team or play home games until either A.) he takes the vaccination or B.) the city’s case numbers decrease, and the current policy is lifted and/or altered.

Politics aside, for a team who has already planned to begin the season without their starting 2-guard Klay Thompson and recently decided to push back young big man James Wisemen’s start date, Kerr and the Warriors had expected Wiggins to play a substantial amount of minutes with the starting and second unit. It wouldn’t have been a surprise if he led the Warriors in minutes especially until Klay’s return. To have him unavailable at beginning of the season will force creative approaches for the coaching staff to adjust to, especially with their starting and closing unit. The easiest and most logical replacement would be wing Otto Porter Jr., but that assumes that he is the player he was two years ago before injuries. They also had hoped was OPJ would be used more in spot minutes in the second unit and allow him to play a small role to keep him healthy for the playoff push. Kerr could opt to go ultra-small with a three-guard lineup in Curry, Poole, and rookie Moses Moody, however, the point guard position in the second becomes seriously depleted by moving Poole up to the 2-guard next to Steph.

All these questions will be answered soon on opening day…that is unless this situation is the fuse that lights a Wiggins trade for Simmons. As much as Philly claims they are willing to hold out until Beal and Lillard are available, both these teams could easily make the playoffs and look good until then. And although a D’Angelo Russel slots in better as a point guard for the Sixers, he has yet to be made available from Minnesota and Wiggins now proving himself as a proper two-way player may be the favorable choice for the playoffs in Philly. This current situation in San Francisco might be the pressure that finally cracks the egg of the Simmons Saga as now both sides share a level of desperation heading into training camp.

Below are the two exchanges that the Warriors may make if Simmons is acquired.

Since Philadelphia doesn’t have the same CV-19 restrictions that are currently in place in San Francisco, Wiggins can immediately join the Sixers in training camp and get ready to build their title contender. Ben can finally begin his new chapter as recent reports have stated Simmons not only is not talking to management but even has refused his teammates’ request to meet him in Los Angeles where he is training independently. The package is obviously not what Daryl Morey and the Philly front office were hoping for, but James Wisemen and a pick are essentially gifted in the exchange to bridge the gap between the value of Wiggs and Ben. Ideally, they would probably later package Maxey, Wisemen + picks for a win-now a player once they become available at the deadline. For example, if Toronto looks underwhelming at the All-Star break and is leaning towards a rebuild, VanVleet may be very get’able as Toronto would love to welcome a young high upside 7 footer to put next to Scottie Barnes.

Dray + Simmons

The obvious problem though is that Dray & Simmons can’t shoot. Well, Dray can’t and Simmons won’t, but the schematics end up with the same results. With both of them on the floor, it allows opposing teams to constantly drape the double all over Curry. However, as it has been heavily reported, Draymond’s interpersonal communication with the front office has been subpar this offseason. It would be assumed if they traded for Simmons that Draymond would be moved shortly after and quite possibly simultaneously. The team that has openly expressed interest in Draymond’s services has been Lillard and McCollum out of Portland. Although neither of them ever play off-ball, for two years they have said they want their front office to move mountains and snatch 3-time champion small ball 5 Draymond Green from Golden State. Below are the possible exchanges:

Obviously, the value of the exchanges can be argued every which way, and it is unimportant to discuss them in detail until the Simmons trade actually happened. I personally don’t like either of these trades for Portland, but it has been Lillard and CJ who claim Dray is their missing piece as a contender. Both exchanges would give the Warriors new levels of flexibility with their depth since Simmons would for the most part replace Draymond, and the players acquired from Portland would give them over 10 respectable rotation pieces heading to playoffs. When Klay finally returns, there would be several 5 out lineups that would let Ben operate for the first time in his career completely surrounded by shooting.

Conclusion

Of course, all of this speculation, however, up until a week ago, we were playing under the assumption that Philly alone had a time restriction applying pressure on when a deal was made for Simmons. As much as Minnesota or any other franchise may want Ben, getting him now or at the deadline doesn’t particularly make a difference, and the later the deal is done it would be assumed the price would be cheaper. But now it seems Golden State and the Sixers share a certain level of desperation. The question is, who will blink first and accept a deal they had told themselves they wouldn’t but out of fear swallow their pride and sign off on the exchange?

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