The first two years in the NBA haven't gone well for Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman, but he has come away with a positive outlook.
"Just experience, going through adversity, it teaches you a lot," Wiseman said, per C.J. Holmes of the San Francisco Chronicle. "It basically draws you closer to yourself. I'm not afraid to be myself anymore. I'm happy about everything I've gone through because it's molded me into the person I am today. It's strengthened me mentally, physically, in all aspects."
Wiseman was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft, one spot ahead of Rookie of the Year and All-Star LaMelo Ball.
The Warriors center hasn't had the same level of individual success, suffering a torn meniscus in April 2021 that ended his rookie year after just 39 games. He then missed all of 2021-22 while rehabbing the knee injury.
Wiseman was up and down when he did play, averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while struggling with efficiency. He finished his rookie year with a negative-0.6 value over replacement player, per Basketball Reference.
"I feel like the odds are stacked against me every day just because of my injuries," Wiseman said. "I've had so many setbacks where now I feel like I have to play catch-up. But that's why I'm just being patient with myself. I'm just trying to figure everything out, that's really it."
In addition to the physical rehab, the young player has also focused on the mental aspect of the game.
"People only see me on the basketball court; they don't see the real stuff behind the scenes," Wiseman said. "I had to do a lot of stuff for myself, a lot of self-reflection and healing. Those were just unseen hours people don’t understand."
It could set 21-year-old up for a big comeback in 2022-23.
Golden State didn't need Wiseman to win the 2022 NBA title, but the center could make the team even more dangerous if he lives up to expectations next season.