While the Golden State Warriors were busy getting pummelled to the tune of 45 points by the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, former number two overall pick James Wiseman was busy getting reps in his current G League stint.
The 21-year-old had his second straight double-double, recording 15 points,11 rebounds and two blocks in Santa Cruz’s 120-104 win against the Salt Lake City Stars. It wasn’t all positive news for Wiseman — he had a team-high five turnovers and was the only Warrior to record a negative plus-minus.
But should he have even been there in the first place? With Warriors rookies Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins recalled for the Pelicans matchup, Wiseman was the only one of Golden State’s 16 contracted players to play in the G League matchup.
Would James Wiseman have been better playing for the Golden State Warriors over their G League affiliate, Santa Cruz, on Monday?
To be fair, head coach Steve Kerr did state Wiseman would be in the G League for at least ten days or so. Clearly they have that goal in mind, even if it meant they were left with a shorthanded rotation against the Pelicans. Kevon Looney started but played just over five minutes, forcing heavy center minutes for JaMychal Green and a combination from forwards Jonathan Kuminga, Anthony Lamb and Patrick Baldwin Jr.
Does the franchise feel comfortable because they seemingly protected him from a blowout loss that would have done nothing for his confidence. Maybe, but if that’s the case, it’s not saying much for Wiseman’s base self-assurance.
Golden State need to evaluate if Wiseman can be a winning piece, or whether he’s a mid-season trade candidate. Although the G League might be a better approach to him reaching the level he needs to get to, was their any harm in letting him battle against a quality NBA starter, Jonas Valanciunas, and one of the league’s best backup bigs, Larry Nance Jr., in a game where a loss always seem assured?
The Warriors are afraid to let Wiseman fail in a normal setting because they’re trying to win games and ultimately a championship, but the winning mindset went out the door in what resembled a pickup game against the Pelicans. It feels like a missed opportunity to see what Wiseman had against a high-quality team — if he fell on his face, then so be it.