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James Wiseman is likely to return for Warriors-Grizzlies

The Warriors’ young big man could play for the first time in four weeks after spraining his ankle. Just in time for the trade deadline!

Charlotte Hornets v Golden State Warriors
James Wiseman will be back to dunk on the Grizzlies Wednesday night. Probably.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

One month ago, James Wiseman delivered a solid eight minutes of defense and rebounding in the Golden State Warriors’ Christmas Day win over the Memphis Grizzlies. He may get a chance to challenge the Grizzlies dynasty again Wednesday night.

Wiseman went through a practice on Tuesday, though the team didn’t scrimmage. He’s on pace to give the Warriors almost a full-strength roster for the rematch against Memphis, after Jonathan Kuminga and JaMychal Green returned last week.

It’s just under a month’s absence for Wiseman, after he spent a month in the G League with Santa Cruz. In between absences, he was playing about eight minutes a game, though more in blowouts, including a career-high 30 points against the Brooklyn Nets. Wiseman has become more reliable as a rebounder and rim protector since returning, but as has happened often in his three-year career, his progress was derailed by injuries.

This is obvious analysis, but Wiseman has always looked better when he has been able to get consistent playing time, whether it’s in the NBA or the G League. He really needs six boring weeks in a row playing 10-15 minutes per game where he can really figure out NBA basketball.

Golden State needs big man depth, if only to let Draymond Green and Kevon Looney steal more rest, and save Anthony Lamb’s two-way days. Wiseman was solid in the first game against Memphis, deterring players down low even though the Grizzlies shoot near the basket more than almost any other team (33.9 attempts per game within five feet of the hoop). He deserves a chance to get show he can do it against against this team, protecting the rim, and making Steven Adams work a little harder for his inevitable rebounds.

If he can continue his competent play, Wiseman could finally be a part of a winning Warriors team. Or, he could at least show enough that he’s not a negative asset at the trade deadline in two weeks.

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