Two key members of the Golden State Warriors continue their rehabilitation programs this offseason, and head coach Steve Kerr recently gave updates on both of them.
Kerr sat down with Anthony Slater, of The Athletic, for an interview that was published online Monday, July 19. During the conversation, Kerr spoke to the injury and recovery status of both second-year big man James Wiseman and shooting guard Klay Thompson.
“He’s right on schedule for everything and, as of now, (the) medical team tells me he will be ready for camp,” Kerr said of Wiseman’s progress.
Wiseman suffered an injury to the meniscus in his right knee, which ended his rookie season early. He underwent surgery to repair the damage in April.
Wiseman’s Health Key to Warriors Offseason Options
Wiseman may prove an integral part of the Warriors lineup this season, and for years to come, as Golden State’s Big-3 of Thompson, Steph Curry and Draymond Green gear up for what will presumably be the last few deep playoff runs of their careers together before age catches up to the Warriors star corps.
However, Wiseman could also be a key piece in any trade Golden State may try to make in an “all-in” effort to help the team navigate a loaded Western Conference. Potential targets Golden State is rumored to have interest in include Damian Lillard, of the Portland Trailblazers; Bradley Beal, of the Washington Wizards; and Ben Simmons, of the Philadelphia 76ers.
A trade for any of those three would likely require both of the Warriors’ 2021 NBA Draft Lottery picks (No. 7 and No. 14), along Wiseman and forward Andrew Wiggins to make the money work. Future draft assets would likely also be a part of any deal.
Wiseman’s overall health and the timeline of his recovery this offseason will be factors in how much value potential trade partners ascribe to the young, raw center who Kerr has said previously could have an All-Star ceiling.
Injuries Provided Silver Lining For Warriors Last Season
Injuries cost Wiseman much of his first year in the NBA, kept Thompson sidelined all season long, ailed Curry down the stretch, and had Kelly Oubre Jr. in and out of the lineup when the games mattered most.
As frustrating as the injury luck was for Warriors fans hungry to see their team back in the playoffs after finishing with the worst record in the league the year before, the minutes made available through injuries helped two key role players develop in ways they might not have otherwise.
“Jordan Poole emerged,” Kerr said during his interview with Slater. “Juan (Toscano-Anderson) has turned himself into a rotation player, perfect for our style.”
Both players saw important minutes across a late-year run, at the end of which Golden State fell just one overtime period short of a berth in the Western Conference Playoffs.
“I’m really excited. I feel like we got our mojo back at the end of the year. The offseason has been productive in terms of Klay now breaking through,” Kerr told Slater. “Now we get a training camp with James, a whole season of development, plus (picks No. 7 and No. 14) in a deep draft.”