Andrew Wiggins and the Golden State Warriors are still basking in the glory of winning the 2022 NBA championship. Wiggins, the 2014 No. 1 overall pick, was the Warriors’ second-best player throughout the playoffs and especially in the NBA Finals, only trailing Finals MVP Stephen Curry.
Wiggins played the type of basketball that’s been expected of him since he was taken first overall in 2014. But none of that would’ve been possible this season if Wiggins hadn’t decided to get vaccinated. As the league returned to more normalcy following the COVID-19 pandemic, some cities still had mandates in place which required being vaccinated to be able to work.
One of those cities was San Francisco, where the Warriors now play, and Wiggins wouldn’t have been allowed into the Chase Center unvaccinated. And the team wasn’t going for him just playing road games in cities with lesser restrictions. Wiggins even tried to get an exemption for his religious beliefs, but was quickly denied by the league. Begrudgingly, Wiggins got vaccinated, but he wasn’t happy.
In an interview with Fansided, the first time All-Star had this to say.
“I still wish I didn’t get vaccinated, to be honest with you.”
“I did it, and I was even an All-Star this year and champion, so that was the good part, just not missing out on the year, the best year of my career. But for my body, I just don’t like putting all that stuff in my body, so I didn’t like that and I didn’t like that it wasn’t my choice. I didn’t like that it was either get this or don’t play.”
Holding a grudge and I’m taking it far 😤 pic.twitter.com/Bxi4aNot6J
— andrew wiggins (@22wiggins) June 25, 2022
Wiggins played in 73 games during the regular season and all 22 of the Warriors playoff games en route to winning the NBA championship.
Wiggins Was Total Opposite Of Kyrie Irving
While Wiggins went ahead and got vaccinated, pretty much completing the Warriors team, in Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated played a huge role in the Nets’ failures this past season. Irving only played in 29 regular season games due to the city mandates in NYC, meaning he couldn’t play at Madison Square Garden either when the Nets played the Knicks. His lack of being present threw a monkey wrench into the Nets’ plans as a team. Things got so bad James Harden even requested a trade midseason and was dealt to the rival Philadelphia Sixers.
Following their playoff sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics, Irving had this to say about his season on an episode of “The ETCs with Kevin Durant” podcast.
“But I never felt like myself throughout the season, because I’m usually sustaining a level of growth throughout the year, instead of trying to catch up with everybody that’s been playing for four or five months. They’ve been at it every day since September or October.”
.@KyrieIrving on not being able to play home games throughout most of the season:
"I never felt like I was 'back.' … I never felt like myself throughout this season."
— Boardroom (@boardroom) May 3, 2022
A tale of two different outcomes. Wiggins getting vaccinated and the Warriors succeed. Irving doesn’t and the preseason title favorites break up (KD/Kyrie/Harden) and then fall flat on their faces in the playoffs.
Now rumors in Brooklyn are Durant wants out and even requested a trade because of Irving’s malcontent ways. But KD must remember that he left Steph Curry and those same Warriors to team up with Irving three years ago.
Wiggins Entering Final Year Of Deal: Irving Looking To Be Traded?
After Wiggins’ playoff performance he pretty much solidified a spot on the Warriors roster for the very foreseeable future. Owner Joe Lacob, GM Bob Myers and head coach Steve Kerr have all gone on record stating the importance of Wiggins and how vital he is. A sure sign he gets paid next offseason. As for Irving, he may or may not be traded, as their owner Joe Tsai made it clear he won’t tolerate the circus of the 2021-22 season again.
ANDREW WIGGINS IS EVERYWHERE RN pic.twitter.com/i65EFPYstA
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 14, 2022
Wiggins and Irving: a tale of two different vaccine outcomes still playing out in the offseason.