The Warriors got off to a strong start to the 2021-22 NBA season, despite being without two of its top young players in James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga.
Wiseman hopes to return later this season after a meniscus tear late in his rookie year, and Kuminga is battling a knee strain he suffered during the preseason.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr updated the progress of his two young stars during an appearance on 95.7 The Game on Wednesday.
“They both are really stepping up their rehab and their on-court activity. (Wednesday) was a great day for both of them," Kerr said. "Kenny Atkinson is working closely with Jonathan [Kuminga] and they’ve had good workouts the last two days, so the knee is improving. Then with James [Wiseman], it’s been a very slow six months because we’re being very careful with him and the meniscus injury, but the last few days he’s really started to ramp it up, running sprints and doing some things laterally. [Dejan Milojevic] is working with him.
"We’ve got a good development plan in place, we feel really good about it regardless of how many minutes those guys play, they’re going to see great improvement this year just with all the work they’re putting in.”
Wiseman's development throughout his rookie season was stunted by an abbreviated training camp and several injuries, including the season-ending meniscus tear. The Warriors have Kevon Looney, Nemanja Bjelica and Draymond Green filling most of the minutes at center with Wiseman on the shelf.
Kuminga showed flashes of his elite athleticism and strength during Summer League, and his role on the wing will be helpful as depth behind Andrew Wiggins, Damion Lee and Juan Toscano-Anderson.
Kerr has been clear that the Warriors are chasing wins this season, and the rotation should include the players he and the coaching staff believe give them the best chance to win.
General manager Bob Myers confirmed Wiseman will be re-evaluated on Nov. 1, with a more concrete timeline for his return likely to follow.
Whether these two will be able to earn time in the rotation upon their return remains to be seen, but Kerr clearly seems encouraged by the progress of the two recent first-round draft picks.