Klay Thompson's impending return rightfully takes up most of the oxygen surrounding a Warriors team that has roared out to a 29-7 start.
But with Thompson on everyone's mind, it's easy to forget that James Wiseman also has yet to take the court for Golden State this season. The second-year big man underwent meniscus surgery last spring and has been slowly making his way back. Wiseman had his rehab paused after entering the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, but the 20-year-old exited the protocols Monday and is preparing to take the next step in his rehab.
"Well, he was getting close, and then COVID happens, and he's right there to start doing some live stuff whether it's the end of this week or next week," Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers told 95.7 The Game's "The Morning Roast on Tuesday." "That's really been the last thing, and then once you're there, it becomes, how do we get game reps and real scrimmaging? Whether we get that in the Bay, in the city, with the team, which is kind of hard to do, or, do we get it in Santa Cruz?
"So James is going to have to go through that part. For us, it's really that part, and then, what does he look like? I don't say that critically. We just can't answer the next step until we see what it looks like. But this team, I will tell you, for a young player, whether it's Wiseman, [Jonathan] Kuminga, [Moses] Moody, it's so hard to crack this rotation. Not that James won't, I think he is going to find a place. But it's a tough team to find minutes on for anybody. I think when James gets back, he will find them.
"But we're not a situation where, unless you're one of the top three or four guys, minutes are hard to get when we're healthy. When Klay is back, there is going to be some pretty good players probably deserving more time. ... When healthy, there is a lot of depth there. James will have to fit into that puzzle too. I don't just say that about him, that's about a lot of our young guys."
Some expected Wiseman to return sooner, but meniscus injuries are tricky to map out and often can take eight or nine months to fully rehab. Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. tore his meniscus in the bubble and didn't return until eight-and-a-half months later.
The Warriors have taken the big-picture view with Wiseman. They know the young center is a big part of their future and there has been no need to push him to return with the Warriors owning the NBA's best record.
Thompson reportedly could make his return as soon as Sunday, and it appears Wiseman might not be far behind. The 29-7 Warriors are close to becoming a whole, and that's a scary thought for the rest of the NBA.