Steve Kerr Says James Wiseman Has Drawn 'Rave Reviews' from Warriors' Coaching Staff

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 22, 2022

Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

James Wiseman has been something of a disappointment for the Golden State Warriors in his young career. But this summer, the reviews coming from the third-year center were more positive.

"All of my coaches have been raving about James," head coach Steve Kerr told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami. "I just got back last week; I was traveling quite a bit this summer, so I hadn't seen a ton of him. But I was getting rave reviews from the coaches in terms of James' incremental improvement. What he needed more than anything was to play, and he played a ton this summer. ... He played a lot of pickup games. He stayed healthy. His knee feels good. He’s in a really good place going into camp."

The 7-foot, 240-pound center appeared in just 39 games (27 starts) for the Dubs in 2020-21, averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 51.9 percent from the field. Injuries and the COVID-19 pandemic led to a choppy rookie season.

Then the 21-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury.

With the Warriors coming off a title and having the star trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green healthy, Wiseman will return in more of a reserve role.

That will give the Warriors the chance to develop him a bit more organically than during his rookie season, which Kerr touched on:

"I think the great thing is there's a much better sense of who we are now than when he was a rookie. You remember his rookie year, we took the approach that, 'Let's just start him, let's throw him into the deep end.' That wasn't entirely fair. We, at times, did not put him in position to succeed. We were more interested in just getting him experience, trying to speed up the development process. And I think in retrospect that was unfair to him. In fairness to us, (Kevon Looney) was injured and had some of the nerve issues going. We weren't sure if he was going to be healthy. We were trying to get to a point where maybe James would help us when we got healthy the following year.
"Like I said, it was amped-up process. This year is a much more organic, natural progression. He's got lots of time, lots of development ahead of him without the rush to be a hugely productive player right away. We’ve got guys who are ready to help us win right now. For James, that'll be part of the process."

Wiseman was the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft and has been far overshadowed by No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards, No. 3 pick LaMelo Ball and even No. 12 pick Tyrese Haliburton.

Some of that has been because of injuries, but Wiseman had a more inconsistent rookie year. This season will be the chance for him to prove that the Warriors made the right decision in drafting him and that he can contribute to a championship-level team.

Thus far, the early returns this offseason have been positive.


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