The Golden State Warriors will be shorthanded for a critical contest and two young players will be losing out on some important development minutes after an unexpected setback.
With the team looking to rebound from a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, news came out that rookie big man James Wiseman and forward Eric Paschall would be forced to miss a key contest against the Houston Rockets due to COVID-19 protocols. While both absences will hurt the Warriors on the court, the loss is seen as especially difficult for the pair given the team’s plans for their development.
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Wiseman, Paschall Will Miss Critical Time
As Anthony Slater of The Athletic reported on Twitter, the league’s COVID-19 protocols have snagged more than just Wiseman and Paschall, with other members of the coaching staff entering the health and safety protocol as well. But he noted that it would be especially difficult for the two big men as the team was working on further developing them down the stretch.
“Rough time for the Warriors to lose Wiseman and Paschall, just as they were prioritizing developmental minutes,” he wrote.
As NBC Sports Bay Area noted, both players had already been forced to miss time this year due to the league’s pandemic health and safety rules. Paschall missed a game against the Indiana Pacers on January 12 after receiving a false positive test, and Wiseman missed the first week of training camp and all three preseason games after testing positive for COVID-19.
The pair will be out for what could be a critical contest as Golden State jostles for playoff seeding. The Warriors dropped to 20-20 after a 128-97 loss to the Lakers on Monday, but look to bounce back against the Rockets, a team that has lost 17 straight games.
Wiseman Set For More Minutes
After a first half of the season in which he played just under 21 minutes a game, Wiseman was set to see the floor more down the stretch. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said last month that the rookie center would start to see more time.
“You saw how fluid and athletic he is,” he said in a postgame interview after a 111-107 victory over the Indiana Pacers. “Just by being out on the floor, he impacts the game. He is learning every day and all of these experiences are really good for him.”
But there is also reportedly some tension within the organization about how to utilize the No. 2 draft pick going forward. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said in an episode of “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” that some within the organization want to see him getting more opportunities, especially as he faces adversity on the court.
“Letting him play through mistakes, letting him play more minutes, heavier minutes like the other two rookies even though the Warriors are trying to contend for the playoffs,” she reported.
It was not clear how long the pair could be out, or whether they might be available to play again for games against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday and Saturday.