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How do you grade James Wiseman’s rookie season?

The rookie could be out for the season after suffering a torn meniscus in the win over the Houston Rockets.

Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors got some disappointing news on the injury front when word broke that rookie James Wiseman suffered a torn meniscus and will likely miss the rest of the season.

Wiseman was selected No. 2 overall at the 2020 NBA Draft and is averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game. The 20-year-old’s per 36 minutes stats are at 19.3 points and 9.7 rebounds.

It’s been an up-and-down rookie season for Wiseman. He missed three weeks in February with a wrist injury and was out of the lineup for three games last month due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

The circumstances weren’t ideal for any rookie this season. The pandemic forced the draft to be pushed back five months and limited the amount of offseason workouts prospects could have with their respective teams.

Wiseman only played three games in college, so losing out on the extra time hindered his development. The timing of the knee injury takes away from Wiseman’s opportunity to continue to play more minutes.

Head coach Steve Kerr has started Wiseman for the last 10 games and showed a little more trust in the rookie. With the Dubs in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, Wiseman would have played meaningful minutes in big games down the stretch. If Golden State gets into the playoffs, it would have been a great learning experience for Wiseman to play when the stakes are highest.

Wiseman has shown flashes this season. He had a season-high 25 points and six rebounds in the Jan. 27 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. But consistency was a big issue for the youngster.

Wiseman is still learning the pro game and lacked the proper positioning on the defensive end. His athleticism is off the charts, but Wiseman struggled in the rebounding department. He will need to use this offseason to get stronger and become more of a force in the paint.

The Warriors seemed focused on selecting Wiseman No. 2 leading up to the draft. His workouts were strong and wowed the team during the pre-draft interviews.

The rookie has shown he can hit outside jumpers and has some nice post moves in his repertoire. Wiseman has shown he has all of the tools to be an elite finisher at the rim on the offensive end.

But the underlying numbers aren’t kind to Wiseman. Golden State’s net rating is 11.4 points better per 100 possessions with Wiseman on the bench. His 110.6 defensive rating is fourth-worst out of any Warrior who has played meaningful minutes, per

History hasn’t been kind to No. 2 picks in the NBA Draft. Since 2000, only five players who were selected second overall have made played in an NBA All-Star game (Tyson Chandler, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant, Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell).

Ingram is a player that has shown a vast improvement after putting up below-expectation statistics in his rookie season. Since being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans, Ingram has grown into a dependable scorer who should continue to get better in the coming years. He only played one season of college basketball and entered the league at 19 years old, just like Wiseman.

It looks like general manager Bob Myers picked Wiseman for what he can grow into. Wiseman will be an effective rim-protector and has the potential to be a double-double machine each time he steps on the court.

But patience will be required. Getting in an entire offseason will be a massive benefit for Wiseman as the Warriors coaching staff and trainers will get to hone in on which specific aspects of his game he needs to work on.

We could see Wiseman’s name in trade rumors this offseason, especially if the Dubs look to acquire another superstar using a package centered on Wiseman and Minnesota’s top-three-protected pick. But it looks Wiseman is a big part of the team’s future plans and unless Golden State can land a bonafide All-Star, he should be back with the team next season.


How would you grade Wiseman’s rookie season?

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  • 5%
    (62 votes)
  • 41%
    (477 votes)
  • 42%
    (492 votes)
  • 9%
    (107 votes)
  • 2%
    (24 votes)
1162 votes total Vote Now

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