The Golden State Warriors 2020 – 2021 season was already getting off to a rocky start with the injury to their superstar guard Klay Thompson, torn right Achilles, who will now miss the entire upcoming season. But now, things in the immediate future took more of a turn as two of their players have tested positive for Coronavirus.
Per the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau, star Draymond Green and #2 overall selection from the 2020 NBA Draft James Wiseman have both tested positive. Both players have been absent from team practice and were yesterday as well.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr couldn’t say much but he did tell ESPN NBA reporter Cassidy Hubbarth what she, and other media members, could do after noticing the players weren’t present.
Steve Kerr said James Wiseman and Draymond Green did not practice today.
When asked about James Wiseman’s absence: "I will not comment on that any further. You can make your own deductions."
— Cassidy Hubbarth (@CassidyHubbarth) December 7, 2020
Follow the Heavy on Warriors Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Warriors Emphasizing Defense
Already starting the year off suffering a huge blow with Thompson’s injury, the team went on to practice without him, Green, and Wiseman as they prepare for their first game against the Brooklyn Nets, and their former Finals MVP Kevin Durant, on Dec. 22nd.
Coming into this season the Warriors will need to be better than their record last year. Much better if they look to compete in a cutthroat western conference. Kerr is knowledgeable of this and has spoken about the need for the team to be a top-tier team to make some noise this season.
“I think we’re going to be different, just because of the nature of our roster,” Kerr said on NBA TV on Friday. “And so a lot of that will have to happen organically. Guys have to play together to feel comfortable with one another, figure out where each one is on the floor. We have to figure out as a coaching staff the best rotations, the best combinations.
“The biggest thing from my standpoint, my staff’s standpoint is, we have to become a top-10 defensive team again. That really was the underrated aspect of the Warriors teams the last seven, eight years. It’s always been one of the best defensive teams in the league, and in order to really compete at the highest level, you’ve got to be excellent defensively. So that’s the focus going into training camp. We’re going to try to rebuild our defense. We’ve got the length and the athleticism to be very good, but it’s going to require a lot of work and we know that.”
During the Warriors’ previous years of title contention, they ranked in not just the top ten but top 5 on the defensive end of the floor. Being able to do so this year without Thompson will be a tall task however, they have the correct influx of players from the newly acquired Kelly Oubre Jr. to former #1 overall selection of the 2014 NBA Draft Andrew Wiggins as they both will look to be staples for the team this upcoming season.
Big Disappointment For Wiseman
Out of all the players, this setback of contracting Coronavirus could affect, it currently is demoralizing any early hope the Warriors had of getting their new center up to speed on the court. Training camp is a very important time for rookies as they begin to learn how an NBA system works and what advantages they possess early on to make themselves stand out.
Due to Wiseman having Coronavirus, he, unfortunately, may not be available in time for the Warriors to get the full amount of practice they would like with him. Kerr spoke to how disappointing this could be and what the team is currently doing to combat it.
“It’s unfortunate. But it’s just the way it goes,” Kerr said. “Our coaching staff has been showing him tape the last few days. He’s still getting some homework in. It’s not ideal, but nothing’s ideal for anyone in 2020.”