Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been paying close attention to the NBA Finals. Part of the reason is that he wants one of his young players to be paying attention, too.
In an appearance on 95.7 The Game’s “Damon, Ratto & Kolsky” Thursday, Kerr said he was “inspired” by Suns center Deandre Ayton’s progression into a breakout playoff star. He added that Ayton’s success could be emulated by James Wiseman, and that Kerr has begun thinking of new ways to deploy his young center.
“The most interesting thing [about the NBA Finals] has been watching Deandre Ayton,” Kerr said, via Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I talk to James and text him. I’m just so inspired by what Ayton has been able to do. And I think there’s no reason why James can’t follow that same path.
“[The Suns] really streamlined his game. You think back a couple years ago and he was kind of all over the map. You could tell how gifted he was, but you weren’t exactly sure what he was. They’ve figured it out.
“I’m watching Ayton quite a bit and I’m thinking a lot about how we can use James and simplify the game and make him really effective for us next year.”
Wiseman was the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft, but had an up-and-down rookie season that ended prematurely due to injury. Ayton, too, took a while and struggled with consistency before blossoming into the player on display this postseason. It’s probably not a bad comparison for Wiseman to look at.
There are some questions as to whether Wiseman is even in Golden State’s long-term plans. Kerr is talking like he is, but things can certainly change quickly if a good trade opportunity comes along.
The Golden State Warriors find themselves in the intriguing position of having a strong core and two lottery picks, and it sounds like there’s a chance that the team might use those picks as pieces to get back in contention quickly.
According to John Hollinger of The Athletic, talk at the NBA Combine was that the Warriors would like to use their lottery picks, as well as center James Wiseman, to acquire more immediate help. The No. 7 pick would be the biggest chip, while Wiseman, the second overall selection in the 2020 draft, would also intrigue many teams.
One name Hollinger mentions as a possible target for the Warriors is Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam.
The Warriors’ stance does make a lot of sense. They are not like most other lottery teams in that they are built to contend now. Stephen Curry is 33, while Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are both 31. The goal for the Warriors is to have those three core players healthy in 2021-22, and there will be a sense of urgency to try to win again while they’re theoretically still in their prime. Wiseman and lottery picks aren’t likely to be of much help in achieving that goal.
Golden State has been linked to other big names via trade already this offseason. They’re going to be a team to watch as the draft approaches.
The Golden State Warriors find themselves in the unique spot of trying to get in contention with the core they have while simultaneously trying to develop a heralded rookie.
Coach Steve Kerr admitted that developing rookie center James Wiseman will take time, and that timeline might not necessarily align with the team’s core remaining contenders.
“I know we can further the conversation and say, ‘What about the timeline with Steph [Curry and Draymond [Green] and Klay [Thompson] and what does that mean.’ And those are valid questions,” Kerr told 95.7 The Game’s “Damon, Ratto & Kolsky” on Friday, via Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Can we get James up to speed quick enough to match the timeline with our three core guys? And that’s a great question. And we don’t know the answer. But when you go into a draft and you see someone who potentially is a generational talent, then that’s a decision you have to make.”
Curry is 33, while Thompson and Green are both 31. They represent a championship core, but there’s no guarantee that lasts another five years. It means Wiseman has to hurry to get on their level, and his season-ending meniscus injury will not help with that.
If there’s any good news, it’s that Golden State’s core is committed to helping Wiseman as much as possible. Whether that’s enough to make him valuable enough to quickly become a member of a contending core remains to be seen.
James Wiseman had some rotten luck during his rookie season, but if listens to Steph Curry, he can turn things into a positive.
Wiseman on Thursday underwent surgery to repair his right meniscus. The injury and surgery will end Wiseman’s season. The 20-year-old, who was the No. 2 pick in the draft, only got to play in 39 games in his rookie season.
Curry played in 80 games as a rookie but only 26 in his third season as he dealt with ankle issues. He knows what it is like to have the early part of your career derailed by an injury.
He offered some great advice to Wiseman on how to handle the disappointment of the season-ending surgery. He suggested Wiseman should use the time to work on his body and perhaps add strength to his frame. He also advised Wiseman to work on his mind as well.
“I hit him earlier today to let him know he has to think bigger picture. He’s 20 years old. He’s got a lot of basketball ahead of him. He has an opportunity now to flip a terrible situation on its head and work on his body, work on his mind,” Curry said Thursday.
Wiseman averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 21 minutes per game this season. He didn’t immediately stand out on the floor, but maybe he can follow Curry’s advice to work on other things while he’s recovering.
Golden State Warriors rookie James Wiseman’s season could be over after he suffered a knee injury during Saturday night’s game.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Wiseman suffered a meniscus injury to his right knee in Golden State’s win over the Houston Rockets. While there is no timetable yet, there is an “expectation” that he could miss the remainder of the season.
There is roughly a month remaining in the regular season, so it makes sense that Wiseman might be done. The Warriors stand to gain little by rushing him back, even though they’re in a race for the play-in spots in the Western Conference.
The injury comes at a disappointing time for Wiseman, who had recently entered the starting lineup and been given a bigger role by coach Steve Kerr. In his last ten games since entering the starting five, the 20-year-old had been averaging 10.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
Fortunately, Wiseman has a pretty good mentor who will be able to offer some advice on coming back strong after he recovers.
Kevin Durant knows as well as anybody the adjustment that it takes to fit into the Golden State Warriors’ one-of-a-kind system. Now he is trying to pass his knowledge on to the next generation.
Warriors rookie James Wiseman said this week that he regularly exchanges texts with Durant, who has offered him guidance on playing for the team.
“We talk about the system, how he was able to fit into the system here,” said Wiseman of the former NBA MVP, per Wes Goldberg of The Mercury News. “He just gave me a lot of advice.”
Goldberg notes that Wiseman met Durant as a teenager when he filmed a video for a Durant-backed startup.
The four-time scoring champion Durant played three seasons with the Warriors, netting three NBA Finals appearances and two championships. He had to learn how to integrate into the team’s free-flowing, three-point-happy attack led by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson as well as their switch-heavy, positionless defense led by Draymond Green. The results speak for themselves though, as Durant was able to achieve basketball nirvana in Golden State.
As for Wiseman, he has had a shaky start to his NBA career. His 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game on 51.0 percent from the field seem decent. But Wiseman leaves a lot to be desired with his post-ups and screen-setting and often looks lost on the defensive end as well.
Durant’s relationship with the Dubs has not always been rosy since he left. But he at least appears to have an interest in Wiseman’s success for them.
James Wiseman is in his rookie season and doesn’t have an official nickname yet. He does have some thoughts on what his nickname should be.
The No. 2 overall pick said Friday that he doesn’t like the “Big Jim” nickname some have given him. He prefers J-Wise or J Dub if some insist on giving him a nickname.
Those are more abbreviations than nicknames, but he prefers them. It’s funny how much he rejects the “Big Jim” nickname though. That nickname does not fit him at all.
What’s more interesting about his name is that his last name is Wiseman but pronounced “Weiss-man.” If it were pronounced as it’s spelled, it would be a compliment to his intellect.
Wiseman is averaging 12.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in 22 games this season.
James Wiseman is having a rough go of things right now, but his superstar teammate is providing him with some good perspective.
After the Golden State Warriors came back to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, guard Stephen Curry received a question about the rookie Wiseman’s struggles. Curry replied that Wiseman would be just fine.
“I used to get benched for Acie Law,” said Curry, per Marcus Thompson of The Athletic.
Indeed, Curry and Law were teammates during the former’s rookie season in 2009. But Curry has since blossomed into a generational talent, winning two MVPs and three NBA championships. Meanwhile, very few people even remember Law, the former Texas A&M star, other than diehard fans.
As for Wiseman, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft, he is averaging 10.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in 20.6 minutes per game so far as a rookie. But he already has the confidence of his teammates and just needs to keep his head up through the inevitable growing pains.
James Wiseman is a new, emerging big man in the NBA and looking to find his place in the league. Wiseman was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 Draft by the Golden State Warriors. In seven games this season, he is averaging 11.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
Wiseman is very close to Penny Hardaway, who coached him in high school and then briefly at Memphis before Wiseman was ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Hardaway was a four-time NBA All-Star and teamed with Shaq in the early ’90s to form a dynamic duo on the Orlando Magic.
Since Hardaway is so familiar with both men, The Athletic interviewed him and asked Penny to compare them. Hardaway was asked whether the two were similar and said no. Wiseman doesn’t have the same “meanness” Shaq had, according to Hardaway.
“He doesn’t have the meanness that Shaq had all the time. Shaq had a chip. Shaq always had a plan. And Shaq always knew he was the best. James carries that chip now. But Shaq always knew he was the chosen one. Shaq came from a different path. He had a military base stepfather. That military background helped Shaq be tougher. James was raised with women. He had his mom and his sister. They kind of babied him and spoiled him, not in a bad way. They were firm. But it wasn’t the same,” Hardaway said (full interview here).
Wiseman knows that he didn’t have that physical toughness, which is why Hardaway wanted to coach him at a public high school in Memphis. That’s when Wiseman began toughening up physically, to complement his mental toughness.
Shaq enjoys advertising his place among big men and putting others down. In this case, he won’t have to because Hardaway set things straight.
Photo: TheHoosier.com/Flickr via CC-BY-SA 2.0
Don’t expect Draymond Green to go easy on new Golden State Warriors draft pick James Wiseman.
The Warriors made Wiseman the No. 2 overall pick in Wednesday’s NBA Draft. On Thursday, he said he had already heard from Green, who didn’t mince words when it came to telling Wiseman how much his draft status would matter.
Green isn’t necessarily wrong. He was a second-round pick who’s gotten a lot further in his career than some second overall picks have.
It’s worth noting that Green was publicly supportive of the Warriors drafting Wiseman. He isn’t coming at this from a place of skepticism. Green is a hard worker who’s obsessed with proving people wrong and earning the plaudits. That’s the attitude he wants from his teammates, too.