Draymond Green: I'm Not Sure I Would've Punished James Wiseman over COVID Test

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 13, 2021

Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman (33) in the second half of an NBA basketball game late Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Denver. The Nuggets won 114-104. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green has come to the defense of James Wiseman in the wake of the rookie being disciplined for missing COVID-19 tests. 

Green told reporters on Friday he's "not sure" if he would have made the decision to bench Wiseman for the situation "because there's so much testing.”

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"I'm not sure if I was the coach I would've suspended him over a COVID test. Not that I'm questioning what Coach Kerr did. I'm just not sure I would've done that. Because there's so much testing.” Draymond on Wiseman being benched https://t.co/nJv4J5gONQ

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters Wiseman was benched for the first half of Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers because he missed two COVID-19 tests during the NBA's All-Star break. 

"I'm not going to go into detail, but this is all part of development as a young player," Kerr said. "You got to take care of your business. Everything matters. This was just a reaction to him missing the test and not being able to practice last night."

Per the NBA's updated gameday testing protocols from January, players and referees must have a negative PCR test from the day before a game and a negative rapid test on the day of the game to be eligible to play. 

While Kerr did acknowledge Wiseman made a mistake, he also praised the 19-year-old for how he's adapted to the NBA this season: 

"He's a 19-year-old, unbelievably gifted player in his rookie year. He's really playing well. Played three college games. If you want to go back and look at the history of this league and guys like Kobe [Bryant] or Anthony Davis, or I don't know, pick any one of a number of rookies who became great players, it's a struggle." 

Wiseman has had an inconsistent rookie campaign. He began the year as a starter, but was moved to a bench role on Jan. 25. The Tennessee native did miss 11 straight games from Feb. 2-20 due to a sprained wrist. 

In 27 appearances, Wiseman is averaging 11.6 points on 52 percent shooting and six rebounds per game. 

The Warriors have lost a season-high four straight games and are currently the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference with a 19-19 record.