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Dubs in-depth: James Wiseman opens up about struggles during rookie season with Warriors

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Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors had high expectations for 2020 No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman. The center only played in three games during his one-year collegiate career, but his athletic ability had scouts excited about his NBA future.

Wiseman’s rookie year was cut short following a knee injury sustained on April 10 in a win over the Houston Rockets. Wiseman played in 39 games and averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game. The 20-year-old’s per 36 minutes stats were encouraging at 19.3 points and 9.7 rebounds.

It was 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 in March 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.

Even though Wiseman flashed some potential during his first year as a pro, his shortcomings were obvious. He needs to work on positioning and get stronger if he wants to be an impact player at the NBA level.

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 NBA.com.

Wiseman opened up about his struggles during his rookie season while speaking with Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated. He talked about how he felt after tearing his meniscus.

“I was really down. I can say that I was crying a lot, and yeah, it was bad,” Wiseman said. “My mom had to actually like, tell me that everything was going to be alright. I’ve got a great family support system and really, just me mentally, I’m very strong as a human being so I just got through it naturally.

I just love the game of basketball so much that I couldn’t even fathom not playing with my team, so that kind of took a lot out of me.”

Wiseman is expected to fully recover sooner than later, which will give him plenty of time to sharpen his skills before the start of next season. General manager Bob Myers has a big offseason ahead of him and was asked about trading Wiseman during his season-ending media availability.

“I think he can help us. I expect him to be on the team next year. We don’t want to trade James Wiseman,” Myers said. “I think he is a tremendous talent. He was put in a position where the guy has, hopefully, taken all of his lumps early in his career. I think he can be very helpful to us in the future and I think he can be helpful in the present. We plan on him being on the team. We are very confident he is going to be a good player and help us win next year.”

Wiseman told Spears that he was relieved to hear that Myers intends on keeping him in the Bay Area for the time being.

“When Bob clarified to the news reporters that he wasn’t going to trade me, it gave me a lot of confidence within myself, Wiseman said. “It’s just the fact that I’ve had confidence in myself that I know I’m capable of. The crazy thing about that is and they had to tell me about that because it drives me. It fuels me to keep going and just work even harder.”

Are you confident that Wiseman will be the Dubs’ long-term answer at center? Or do you think Myers should try and include Wiseman in a trade package to acquire another star-level player?


On to some links:

Kevin Durant remains a polarizing figure in the Bay Area. The two-time NBA Finals MVP explains why he signed with the Warriors in the summer of 2016. (Essentially Sports)

Draymond Green proved he still has plenty left in the tank during the regular season. Kendra Andrews of NBC Bay Area says Green will need to regain his confidence on the offensive end if Golden State wants to improve next season.

Despite two heartbreaking losses in the NBA’s Play-In Tournament, Juan Toscano-Anderson is ready to get back on the court. JTA is suiting up for Mexico in the Olympic qualifying tournament. (Warriors Wire)