After the Golden State Warriors drafted James Wiseman with the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, they foresaw Wiseman immediately being their big-time center for their future. However, after his first two seasons, he has only been able to play in 39 of the possible 154 games.
Wiseman missed all of last season trying to rehab a torn meniscus. After multiple attempts to return to the rotation at different junctures of the season, the Warriors shut him down on March 19, after his knee kept swelling while he was preparing to come back.
The Warriors had anticipated Wiseman to return and back up Kevon Looney. As the only true healthy center on the team, Looney was remarkable and reached his goal of playing in all 82-games last season. He had crucial moments throughout the playoffs that helped propel the Dubs to win their fourth title in six seasons.
Looney was rewarded with a three-year, $25.5 million deal to remain with the Warriors. The Dubs had drafted Wiseman to take over the starting center spot for the team, but Looney has played his way into becoming the starting five for the Dubs at least for the time being.
What Wiseman Got From Kevon Looney
Most promising young players would be disgruntled and complain after being usurped by an older less promising veteran on the team. Surprisingly, Wiseman seems to have a good head on his shoulders and looks up to the big man.
“Watching him as a person, he’s a very humble person,” Wiseman told NBC Sports Bay Area’s “Dubs Talk”podcast. “Also, he has a lot of wisdom, especially for his age. Kevon is what, 25, 26? For Kevon to be that age and have a lot of wisdom.”
Wiseman talked about leaning on the veteran for advice. Since there are not that many big men on the team, it makes sense for the young big to seek counsel since only they would understand certain niches.
“I just take that in. I ask a lot of questions,” Wiseman continued on the podcast. “I’m very curious. Just seeing his process and what he had to go through and me asking questions … really seeing that just gave me a lot of motivation. It gave me a lot of motivation and to just keep working every day, just keep striving to be the best that I can be.”
Seeing how Looney excels on the floor gives Wiseman confidence he can do the same once he gets on the court with the Big Three of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The third-year player believes he is capable of working within the system and excelling on the floor.
Former Warrior Shaun Livingston & Klay Thompson Talk Wiseman Through Rehab
With so much time watching the team as a spectator, one has to wonder how Wiseman has been keeping busy, especially since that much time off could lead to serious self-doubt.
“[Livingston] told me a lot about his experience, and he told me a lot about the rehab process,” Wiseman said on the “Dubs Talk” podcast.
Outside of the three rings, Livingston won with the Warriors, he is, unfortunately, most remembered for the gruesome knee injury that ruptured every ligament in 2007. Now the Warriors’ director of player affairs and engagement, Livingston is someone that is the perfect player for Wiseman to talk to about coming back from prolonged injuries.
Wiseman also bought up how Thompson gave him advice, and Thompson talked bout the rehab process while the big man was out on Thompson’s boat. After winning Best Comeback Athlete at the ESPYs, Thompson may know a thing or two about what it takes to come back from severe injuries.
Hopefully, Wiseman figures it out and becomes a solid contributor for the team next season and moving forward. Dub Nation will certainly be crossing their fingers.