The Golden State Warriors have championship aspirations as they sit with the league’s second-best record and just over 20 games remaining.
To get there though, they may need second-year center James Wiseman to contribute at a high level. Wiseman is going to be the Warriors’ best rim protector once he returns, having yet to play a single game this season.
The Golden State Warriors could be getting James Wiseman back in the near future, and his contributions could be key in a potential Finals run.
Wiseman has been assigned to the Warriors’ G-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, to finalize his rehab prior to joining the Golden State. That will likely be Wiseman’s last step before taking the court with the Dubs.
Many are skeptical at what level he can contribute. The skepticism makes perfect sense, especially considering some of the flaws he showed as a rookie.
Wiseman’s biggest issue was defending without fouling. Understanding defensive rotations were also problematic at times, but averaging 3.1 fouls per game in limited minutes, Wiseman must do better this season.
There’s no question about his importance as the 7-footer will be the only true rim protector as the Warriors team has none of their starting frontcourt players stand over 6-foot-9.
That’s a major contribution that only Wiseman can bring. But, if he can’t figure out how to defend without fouling, how to roll off picks, and how to become a lob threat when Green is going downhill, it could be a long second season.
Wiseman is still under contract for a few more years, so it’s not a make-or-break few months for the 20-year-old, but it will go a long way into how much belief the team has in him to be a staple of their long-term future.
Stephen Curry said, per NBC Sports’ Dalton Johnson, that he sees a “beast” in Wiseman. Head coach Steve Kerr also praised the young center. If a few of the people that see him play the most say that, then there should be little doubt in his ability.
However, after last season, Wiseman will have to prove it, and doing that on a championship-level roster is easier said than done.