The possible answer to the Golden State Warriors’ problems is on the way. It’s their second-year center, James Wiseman.
On Thursday, Wiseman played in his first NBA G League game. It’s also the first time he has played in a professional game in nearly a year. In his debut, he played 20 minutes, scored 18 points and pulled down six rebounds. The Santa Cruz Warriors lost the game, but the positive play from Wiseman was a huge victory.
Now let’s get into the three key takeaways from Wiseman’s performance on Thursday.
James Wiseman NBA G League Debut
3. Bigger is better. Period
The Warriors are one of the smallest teams in the entire league. Their starting center is Kevon Looney, and he’s having arguably the best season of his career. Looney is about 6 foot 9 and there is only so much he can do against the likes of Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns and other talented big men around the league.
Wiseman put on muscle in his time away from the court, and he’s noticeably bigger. After his first G-League game, the center revealed he has put on 10 to 15 pounds of muscle. The scrawny teenager you saw during his rookie season has become a man.
Thursday, his power was on full display. He controlled the paint and made things happen. In games when Looney is overmatched, Wiseman is that missing piece to help out. He’s 7 feet tall and a true center, something the Warriors haven’t had in a few years.
2. Cool calm and collected
Most young players who enter the league are eager to play and perform well. They can get overly excited and that can create some problems. Wiseman was the best player on the court of the Santa Cruz squad, but he didn’t force proving it. He lets the game come to him. That’s what Golden State needs him to do for them.
It took Wiseman four attempts to get his first point of the game. Once he got that out of the way, it was smooth sailing. On the court and off the court, his calm demeanor never changed, even though everyone knew he was excited to play.
Wiseman said he was trying to enjoy the moment. Fortunately, meditation and playing NBA 2k as Kevin Durant helped him find some balance.
James Wiseman showed a lot of promise tonight.
Not a bad start 💪 pic.twitter.com/F56aUvAAkL
— Warriors Nation (@WarriorNationCP) March 11, 2022
1.Time, health and pace
The Warriors only have a handful of games left, and after not playing competitively for almost a year, it’s going to take some time to be 100 percent. James Wiseman looked extremely good in his first game, but they only allowed him to play 20 minutes. It’s no fault of his own, but does Wiseman have enough time to get all the way healthy?
Health has been the team’s issue all season, while time is starting to become a major concern. Draymond Green is set to return Monday, but Andre Iguodala and Gary Payton II are both out with lingering injuries. These three players will be fine because they’ve all done something Wiseman hasn’t done this season. That’s play in an NBA game.
Wiseman is the only player on the roster who hasn’t appeared in a regular-season game this year. He looked amazing in his first G League game, but it’s not the NBA and it doesn’t duplicate a playoff game. He’s returning to the NBA at a time the entire league is ramping things up for the postseason. It’s already tough coming back from a season-ending injury, but it might be more challenging coming back at this time.
End of the day there is more good than bad when it comes to Wiseman’s debut. That’s great for Stephen Curry and the Warriors. Whenever Wiseman gets the call-up he’s going to be excited and so should Dub Nation.