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James Wiseman is the Warriors starting center

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The rookie looks to be a part of the starting lineup from here on out.

Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

James Wiseman has returned to the Golden State Warriors after missing three games while on the health and safety protocol. And head coach Steve Kerr is putting all his eggs in the Wiseman basket.

Before Tuesday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Kerr announced that Wiseman would be the team’s starting center for the first time since Jan. 23. But more importantly, Kerr said that he anticipates Wiseman staying in the starting role for the rest of the season.

Wiseman started the first 16 games of the year before moving to the bench while Kevon Looney shifted to the starting role. But Wiseman’s been on a tear as of late, and in his last three games averaged 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in just 21.1 minutes per night, while shooting 68.0% percent from the field.

Moving him to the starting lineup gives the Warriors a more versatile offensive look while Steph Curry is sidelined, but most importantly gives Wiseman vital developmental minutes. It’s become increasingly clear that the Warriors are shifting their focus towards the 2021-22 season, and Wiseman playing a big role for the rest of the year helps in that area.

Kerr explained the timing of the move, saying, “There’s 29 games left, it feels like a good time to get him into the lineup ... We’ve tried a lot of different rotations. We just feel like after [43 games], James has come along really well. He’s picked up a lot of the concepts. It’s really important now, especially given the absences — missing the 10, 11 games with the wrist, the last three games with COVID protocol — he needs to be out there.”

On the year, Wiseman has played in 29 games and is averaging 20.8 minutes, 11.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game, while shooting 52.6% from the field and 36.7% from three-point range.