It was a night of celebration and reflection. For most of the Golden State Warriors, it was about looking back at all it took to earn the championship banner they raised. For James Wiseman, it was the recovery process that led him to opening night.
Wiseman had not played in an NBA game since early 2021. His scheduled return in 2022 was derailed by another surgery and it wasn’t until last night that Wiseman could truly say he was back in the fold.
Seen as the Warriors’ ace in the hole, Wiseman can help his team pack an extra punch this season. As a rim-running big with all the potential to be a modern Chris Bosh, a lot of pressure was on Wiseman to get back on the floor.
James Wiseman finally made his return to the Golden State Warriors. How did the young center perform on opening night?
Wiseman was on the court for just 16 minutes, scoring 8 points (4-of-6 FG) and hauling down 7 rebounds. Early in the first half, he recorded his only block of the game by stonewalling Wayne Gabriel at the rim.
It was a mixed bag for Wiseman.
More often than not, he was woefully late to rotate on defense. In fact, his first defensive possession saw him failing to help on a LeBron James’ and-one.
He could also do a better job setting screens. As a seven-foot beast, Wiseman can do more to get his teammates open than gently brush defenders.
Wiseman did, however, roll to the rim with a purpose. Exploding in the pick-and-roll for direct attacks on the basket led to the best moments of the night for Wiseman.
His mobility is still the standout selling point for Wiseman. He runs like a deer, forcing James into fouling him in transition when Wiseman sprinted straight up the middle of the floor and took LA by surprise.
This athleticism was on display all night as Wiseman was a heat-seeking missile on the glass. He did a fantastic job of hunting down rebounds and his size gives him an edge over everyone else on the roster, despite the Warriors being a solid rebounding team.
It’s only the first game and Wiseman has plenty of wrinkles to iron out. He was a minus-11 in a game the Warriors won by 14 points, a signal that something isn’t exactly going as planned.
Still, Wiseman’s potential continued to show itself and the Dubs clearly have something to work with.