James Wiseman recently returned to practice after two separate surgeries on his knee to help repair a torn meniscus. Wisemans has not seen the court in nearly a year, as he went down late last season and has not made his sophomore debut for the Golden State Warriors.
All of this, plus the fact that the Warriors are favorites to win the NBA Finals, have led to many questions about his role on this stacked roster.
The Golden State Warriors have an interesting issue at hand. How will they integrate James Wiseman into their winning formula?
Pairing his incredible size with his equally as impressive athleticism, Wiseman is able to reach up for shots that many others would not even dare to contest. Though this often ends in jaw-dropping goaltending violations.
Wiseman also has a soft touch and a solid approach to his shooting mechanics, although this has not yet translated to anything over 32% from beyond the arc.
Wiseman should emulate JaVale McGee
Realistically, Wiseman is not able to add much to a contending team outside of his unreal athleticism and reach. Although, the same thing could have been said about JaVale McGee in 2016 when the Warriors signed him to play off the bench.
In fact, McGee played almost the exact role that Wiseman can be expected to play the rest of this season.
JaVale played around ten minutes per game for Golden State. In that time, he was used as a lob threat on offense and a shot-blocking big on defense, a similar role to what he played in the 2020 (2021) Olympics.
Wiseman could realistically play the same role, not gaining many minutes due to the sheer amount of talent on the Warriors roster.
Warriors’ depth could limit Wiseman
Green has also played impactful minutes at center this season, introducing the small ball option that made this team so dangerous in their five consecutive finals appearances. Age, however, limits Green’s ability to play center consistently.
Wiseman can take over some of Looney and Otto Porter Jr‘s minutes, shifting Bjelinca to the 4 and taking the 10 extra minutes that aren’t occupied by Looney, Bjelinca, or Green.
James Wiseman would play the previously stated “JaVale McGee role,” rising up for lobs that nobody else can reach, setting solid screens to open up a driving lane for Steph Curry, and intimidating smaller players by protecting the rim with unmatched, maybe occasionally unfounded, confidence.
With a coach like Steve Kerr, it is nearly impossible to predict rotations or roles for players not in their core-four lineup. Especially this season, where they have many different styles of play that they can choose from off the bench.
One game, James Wiseman could see up to 25 minutes of playing time, followed by a game with only five. This is the way of the Warriors rotation.
One thing is for sure though; Kerr will find what works best with the 20-year-old center.