With the 2022-23 season having come to an end, we look back and review every player that took to the floor for the Golden State Warriors. Players are ranked on performance, with some of that based on preseason expectations.
James Wiseman’s tumultuous career at the Golden State Warriors came to an end on February 9, traded to the Detroit Pistons in a multi-team deal that saw the franchise bring back Gary Payton II.
After a season that promised so much, Wiseman’s time at the Warriors ended with little impact. There was plenty of optimism after some promising signs in Golden State’s preseason games against the Washington Wizards in Japan, but it quickly became apparent that he wasn’t going to develop into an effective, winning player in the timespan the franchise needed.
A former number two overall pick, James Wiseman will ultimately go down as a major missed opportunity for the Golden State Warriors.
Wiseman started the season with double-digit scoring in four of his first five games, and was part of the rotation over the first ten. However, amid an historically poor bench unit to start the season, it was evident that Wiseman was a major problem.
He played in just two of the next 19 games, spending a significant period in the G League as the Warriors desperately tried to unlock the talent that saw him taken second overall in the 2020 NBA Draft. To be fair, he started to display his 7’0″ presence towards the end of his stint, averaging 18.8 points and 10.6 rebounds in ten G League showcase games.
With some injuries to the main squad, Wiseman returned to Golden State and the rotation for seven-straight games in middle-late December. While the box score numbers didn’t totally stand out, and it was largely a limited role playing ten minutes or less, there were some elements of improvement in his rebounding and defense, particularly in guarding the pick-and-roll.
His most impactful performance may have come when he had zero points on Christmas Day against the Memphis Grizzlies, with Wiseman recording five rebounds and a +8 plus-minus in a big win where the Warriors were without Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins.
He also put up a career-high 30 points on 12-for-14 shooting in a blowout loss to the Brooklyn Nets, a game where Golden State rested their main players on the second night of a back-to-back. While it was a sign of his offense talent if given the opportunity, it did little to prove himself as a winning player for a championship-aspiring team.
A slight ankle injury then came at the worst possible time for the then 21-year-old, setting him back again just as things were starting to improve. Ultimately the franchise ran out patience — partly because of their title endeavours, and partly because he’s owed $12.1 million next season.
Wiseman made 22 starts as part of 24 appearances with the Pistons post-trade, averaging 12.7 points and 8.1 rebounds in 25.2 minutes per game. However, Detroit won just two of those games and Wiseman recorded an average plus-minus of -9.2 (he was -5.1 with the Warriors).
While it’s hard and unfair to evaluate a trade in such a short span, Wiseman has done little to dispel the idea that he’s never going to be a major contributor on a high-level team. Although he still has some time on his side, next season will be critical as he enters the final year of his rookie deal.