Knee soreness kept Andrew Wiggins sidelined for one of the Warriors' preseason games, and Steve Kerr says the issue has kept the forward from reaching his optimal conditioning level with the regular season just a few days away.
"He's probably a couple weeks away from really being able to have his conditioning and rhythm where he wants it to be, and that's fine," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters after Friday night's preseason finale. "That's usually the case with a lot of guys as you head into the regular season, so he'll be fine."
Wiggins averaged 9.2 points and 3.2 rebounds over 18.9 minutes over four preseason games. Kerr also emphasized that Wiggins' size and ability on the defensive end will be much more critical to the Warriors' success this season than his scoring.
Two of the NBA's top three scorers in the preseason were Steph Curry and Jordan Poole, so there won't be any shortage of attempts for the Warriors' starting backcourt. Wiggins shot just 22.2 percent from 3-point range during the preseason, but connected at a solid 38 percent clip over the 2020-21 campaign.
As long as Klay Thompson remains on the shelf, it will be Wiggins who primarily will be tasked with defending the top opposing wing night in and night out for the Warriors. Even when Thompson is back, we will see how his defensive ability carries over after two years away from the floor and two major lower-body injuries.
Andre Iguodala also likely still can give spot minutes and defend athletic wings, but the 37-year-old is not the player he once was in his last Warriors stint.
Damion Lee and Juan Toscano-Anderson could see extended action early in the season as the Warriors get Wiggins' conditioning ramped up.
Although he might not have a major role offensively, Wiggins' production will greatly impact the ceiling of this Warriors team.
The quest for a championship begins Tuesday in Los Angeles against the Lakers.