Forward Draymond Green and rookie center James Wiseman — the No. 2 pick in last month’s draft — missed the Warriors’ first group practice of training camp Monday after testing positive for the coronavirus, a league source confirmed with The Chronicle.
Head coach Steve Kerr is prohibited from naming the two players who tested positive last week. After announcing that Green and Wiseman were out Monday, he declined to elaborate about the reason behind their absences before telling reporters, “I think you guys all got it.”
The awkward back-and-forth is the latest example of the strange new reality the NBA must navigate as it tries to start a season during a pandemic. The team announced last Tuesday that two players had tested positive for the coronavirus. Per league protocols, Green and Wiseman must self-quarantine from the Warriors for 10 to 12 days before they can attempt to return the required two negative tests.
It’s unclear exactly when Green and Wiseman will be able to return to the team, but they could have a tough time getting back in time for Saturday’s preseason opener against Denver at Chase Center. The Warriors then have preseason games next Tuesday and Dec. 17 at Sacramento before opening the regular season Dec. 22 at Brooklyn.
Opening practice without Wiseman and Green is the latest blow for a team that learned last month that Klay Thompson will miss the season with a torn right Achilles tendon. Wiseman was slated to compete with Marquese Chriss and Kevon Looney in training camp for the starting center job. After a disappointing 2019-20 season, Green was intent on quieting his doubters, proving he’s still an All-Star-caliber player and organizing Golden State’s defense.
That side of the court was a focus for the Warriors on Monday, but they can expect to make only so many strides without two of their most important defenders. Wiseman joined Golden State with a reputation as a shot-blocker. Green, the 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year, is the only player on the roster who has established himself as an elite defender at this level.
Thus, he is expected to play a key role in whether the Warriors achieve their stated goal of having a top-10 defense this season. Golden State had the fifth-worst defense in the league last season, and it’s again without its best perimeter defender in Thompson.