Over the past couple of years, the Golden State Warriors have had some terrible injury luck. Two weeks into this new season, it is starting to look like their luck is beginning to turn. According to a tweet from the team’s official Twitter account, James Wiseman has been cleared to participate in full team practices.
Although it was later revealed that Wiseman was not yet allowed to participate in scrimmages, this is still great news for both him and Warriors fans. The former 2nd overall pick of the 2020 NBA draft has been out for almost 8 months after undergoing knee surgery in April for a right meniscal tear. In 39 games last season, Wiseman averaged 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks in 21.4 minutes per game. He showed flashes of how his unique blend of size and athleticism could impact the game, but injuries and lack of practice time due to the shortened season resulted in inconsistency for him.
As far as his recovery goes, a tweet from The Athletic’s Anthony Slater shows Wiseman discussing the possibility of playing in the G-League before fully returning to the Warriors.
James Wiseman thinks some G-League reps could help him before an NBA return: “Of course. I’d like to go down there to get sharp physically, mentally.” pic.twitter.com/5gW5KYn33S— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 1, 2021
This would be a good idea for Wiseman. Since he has been away from basketball for a significant amount of time, he will need the extra minutes to build confidence in his knee and get back into shape. In the G-League, Wiseman will be the center of attention and could even use that time to practice all the information he learned while he was away due to injury. It is also worth noting how much Warriors breakout player Jordan Poole improved after receiving minutes in the G-League last year.
Although the Warriors have started off hot without their young center, Wiseman’s skillset would be a huge bonus to the team. Here’s another tweet from The Athletic’s Anthony Slater that discusses a moment between Wiseman and Stephen Curry where Steph tells him about their potential on the court during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Steph Curry went to the bench the other night for a specific conversation with James Wiseman. Curry wanted to discuss a play that will be a lob over the top to Wiseman, once he returns, instead of a bounce pass to Looney.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 1, 2021
Here's video and Wiseman's telling of it. pic.twitter.com/DDC6Fgb4ZT
In this play, Steph splits the trap as he comes off the screen from Draymond Green. As he penetrates towards the rim, Steph attracts the attention of the weakside help defender, freeing up Kevon Looney in the dunker spot for the open shot. However, because Looney is not a lob threat, Steph has to bounce pass it to give Looney a chance to load up for the shot. This gives time for the defense to recover and ends with free throws for Golden State instead of a dunk. In the clip, Steph tells Wiseman that when he returns, they would take advantage of Wiseman’s massive size and athleticism by lobbing the ball directly to him for the dunk.
Wiseman’s recovery is a story to follow for Warriors’ fans. He has a lot of potential and at full health, would make this already great team even better.