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Iguodala unlikely to play on trip, giving JTA an opportunity

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SAN FRANCISCO – It’s entirely rational to conclude that Steve Kerr’s lack of concern with Andre Iguodala’s 10-day absence due to swelling in his right knee is directly related to the fact that the Warriors are 4-0 since the veteran wing was sidelined.

Which doesn’t mean Iguodala is not missed. Rather, it means the Warriors have not yet been hurt by his absence.

That could change next week when the 37-year-old wing almost certainly will remain sidelined for back-to-back games against the white-hot Phoenix Suns.

Iguodala is scheduled to join the Warriors when they leave Saturday afternoon, ahead of the Sunday afternoon game in Los Angeles against the Clippers. Golden State plays at Phoenix – who has won 15 in a row – on Wednesday and returns home to face the Suns on Friday.

“It’s not a long-term concern,” Kerr said Friday before tipoff against the Trail Blazers at Chase Center. “(Iguodala) is going to wait until the swelling goes down – it’s going down – and then he’s going to get on the court for a few days. So, he’ll go on the trip, and he’ll get on the court, but (is) unlikely to play on the trip.”

Iguodala’s absence means more playing time for Juan Toscano-Anderson, who was sensational in the 116-96 victory over the 76ers on Wednesday, logging 25 productive minutes that were essential to the Warriors overcoming a 19-point deficit.

It speaks to Golden State’s depth that JTA was out of the rotation before Iguodala was sidelined and basically was ready to step into what would have been the Andre minutes.

 

“It’s a big part of coaching, just keeping guys on board and making sure they’re OK and talking them through the times when they’re out of the loop and making sure they’re staying engaged,” Kerr said. “Because their time is going to come again. That’s what made Juan’s return so powerful not just for himself but for the team, as an example.”

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Iguodala’s last appearance was a 19-minute stint at Brooklyn on Nov. 16. By the time he returns, he will have missed at least seven games. His return, as it stands, will come no sooner than the first full week of December.

So, it’s up to Toscano-Anderson, who will fill most of that void. He brings a similar set of skills, the ability to be a disruptor on defense and also make plays for others on offense.

Such is the depth at Kerr’s disposal. Even without Klay Thompson and James Wiseman, the Warriors can miss an important rotation player and still have enough to put away most opponents.