Less than a month from the Trade Deadline, the Warriors are at an impasse: what to do with James Douglas Wiseman? It’s not called Douglas at all, it’s just for style. Meanwhile the interior has only played 19 games this season. Too few to claim a secure spot in the Warriors roster. Its market value is still great, so we take stock.
“For zi second choice of zi two fasande and twény NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select… James Wiseman from Memphis University”.
He was one of the normally sure values of this 2020 vintage. The slender and athletic interior, gravedigger of the NCAA hoops. 20 points at 77% shooting and 11 rebounds on average. An outside shot to – perhaps – develop. Nice prospect of spacing for the Warriors game system. Appropriate choice just behind Anthony Edwards, whose Californian outside lines did not necessarily need. And suddenly, 784 days after his draft, where is the « Gatorade National Player of the Year » 2019?
The TGV runs at the speed of an RER. A correct launch at 11.5 points at 52% shooting and 5.8 average rebounds, then the chain of hell: wrist injury, COVID protocol and… meniscus tear. Flute. Rookie season at only 39 games therefore (25 in the shoes of a holder), and knee surgery which blurs his name in the Warriors roster. Through « blur », we hear that no one is really confident about their ability to start the 2021-22 financial year. And for good reason, James Wiseman will miss… his entire sophomore season. Dagger in the heart of the California franchise. He did not return to the pennant roster until December 2022.
And now, what do we do? Nice appetizer on the start of the 2022-23 fiscal year with 55 points in five games. Balanced like that, the stat is quite imprecise, but it’s just to show that he can still play basketball. We are not on a total incapacity coming out of a coma. In short, James Wiseman regains his bearings then continues – at the end of October/beginning of November – five cataclysmic matches: 18 points, 13 rebounds and -17 from plus/minus. It should be his one-game line, it’s not. Access to the circle is left wide open, the inside making mistakes that a 21-year-old 2nd draft pick needs to start erasing. Then came the time of the G League, two or three friendly cards for confidence, then the return to the group of Steve Kerr in mid-December. Bam, 30 points on the Nets on the 21st. Re-bam, the left ankle rotates and Wiseman returns to pionner in the infirmary. Five games missed, when will we see him again in the Dubs jersey?
The question is not even “When will we see James Wiseman again in the Dubs jersey? »but rather “Will he wear the Dubs jersey? ». The Trade Deadline is set for February 8. The Warriors are 8th in the West and have every interest in making moves if they want to be able to defend their title. But in the Fast Break Podcast, CJ Holmes of San Francisco Chronicle was more optimistic than us regarding the future of James Wiseman.
“Based on what I’m hearing, I don’t see them making any moves. I don’t think they’re ready to give up on James Wiseman […] He’s only 21 and the Warriors know that with them he’s in one of the best player development systems in the NBA. I think when it comes to the Playoffs, Wiseman will be an important factor. »
So, are we staying the course? Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green age like fine wine. The Warriors have time to see it coming. Whether it’s James Wiseman or Jordan Poole – with the new contract at $35 million a season – Bob Myers keeps his cool and puts all the little problems on the youth factor. It holds. But if we offer it something heavy in exchange for its interior… Time will tell.