The Golden State Warriors will try and get back into the postseason after missing out the past two years. The Dubs had a historic five-year run that saw them make five consecutive NBA Finals and capture three titles from 2015-2019.
Things took a turn for the worse during the 2019-20 campaign. All-Star guard Klay Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, while Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency.
Then, Stephen Curry got hurt early in the season, and the result was that the Warriors fell to the bottom of the standings, finishing the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 campaign with a 15-50 record.
Golden State was rewarded with the No. 2 pick for its futile season, which they used on big man James Wiseman.
The Memphis product had an up-and-down rookie season for the Dubs. Wiseman averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game but struggled with consistency issues.
Golden State’s net rating was 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.
But Wiseman did flash some potential. He had a season-high 25 points and six rebounds in the Jan. 27 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He showed his athletic ability by being on the receiving end of several alley-oops and finished well around the rim.
Wiseman’s rookie season ended when he tore his meniscus in April. Head coach Steve Kerr spoke with Anthony Slater of The Athletic and gave some good news on Wiseman’s health.
“He’s right on schedule for everything and, as of now, medical team tells me he will be ready for camp.”
Kerr likes what he saw from Wiseman during a less than ideal rookie season. The pandemic forced teams to alter their offseason training programs, which limited Wiseman’s time to work with Golden State coaches following the draft.
He also dealt with some injury issues before hurting his knee and missed time due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Kerr feels good about Wiseman’s ability to develop into the Dubs’ long-term solution at center despite the challenges of last season.
Kerr is watching a certain player currently playing in the NBA Finals and hoping Wiseman can use him as a blueprint for future success.
“I’m just so inspired by what [Deandre] Ayton has been able to do [in the playoffs],” Kerr said. ”And I think there’s no reason why James can’t follow that same path.
“I know everybody is impatient [and] wants him to be great now. It just doesn’t work that way. But if we continue to develop him and we’re having a great season — that’s the whole plan, that’s the whole idea.
“Over the long haul, we’re gonna develop James and we feel like he’s gonna be our starting center at some point for a long, long time.”
Wiseman has been mentioned as possible trade bait as general manager Bob Myers does his due diligence on what type of return he could get this offseason. Golden State also owns the Nos. 7 and 14 selections in the 2021 NBA Draft and could package the picks with Wiseman to acquire some veteran help.
On to some links:
Durant has been making headlines for some of his comments on social media lately. The two-time NBA Finals MVP shared his thoughts on the matchup between the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2017 title. (NBC Sports)
What does the landscape look like heading into next month’s NBA free agency? Sam Quinn of CBS Sports laid out where every NBA teams stands financially going into the offseason.
Who will the Dubs take if they keep both of their lottery picks this year? Fansided’s Tony Pesto released his latest mock draft.