Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers made it clear last week that the organization is committed to 2020 first round pick James Wiseman. Now, the 20-year-old center is expressing gratitude and optimism for his future with the club, after what was a very up-and-down rookie season.
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Wiseman recently concluded a two-episode interview series on ESPN’s The Undefeated with senior NBA writer Marc J. Spears and the duo discussed numerous topics surrounding Wiseman’s rookie season.
After playing one season at the University of Memphis, Wiseman was drafted second overall last November by the Dubs. On opening night of the 2020-2021 season, he went for 19 points and six rebounds, while picking up two steals as well.
Wiseman started each of the first 16 games for Golden State and played in 20 straight contests to start the season, but starting in February, he missed 33 of the final 52 games due to a combination of positive COVID-19 tests and later on, a knee injury. It was announced in April that Wiseman would miss the remainder of the season with the knee ailment.
Praise From Myers ‘Drives’, ‘Fuels’ Wiseman
After the Warriors season officially ended following the NBA’s Play-In Tournament, both Myers and head coach Steve Kerr held press conferences to talk about Stephen Curry’s battle through a serious injury in the waning weeks, Draymond Green’s scoring struggles, and the future of Wiseman.
“I think he can help us. I expect him to be on the team next year. We don’t want to trade James Wiseman,” Myers said last Monday. “I think he is a tremendous talent. He was put in a position where the guy has, hopefully, taken all of his lumps early in his career. I think he can be very helpful to us in the future and I think he can be helpful in the present. We plan on him being on the team. We are very confident he is going to be a good player and help us win next year.”
This came on the heels of Mercury News Warriors writer Wes Goldberg explaining earlier in the month that the team may trade either Wiseman or their top-three protected 2021 draft.
With the assurance from Myers, Wiseman told Spears this week that his confidence was boosted dramatically.
When Bob clarified to the news reporters that he wasn’t going to trade me, it gave me a lot of confidence within myself. It’s just the fact that I’ve had confidence in myself that I know I’m capable of. The crazy thing about that is and they had to tell me about that because it drives me. It fuels me to keep going and just work even harder.
Wiseman Details Emotional Times Following Season-Ending Injury
The lottery pick’s season-ending injury occurred during the Warriors’ 125-109 victory over the Houston Rockets on April 10, and Wiseman told Spears that some tough times followed.
“I was really down. I can say that I was crying a lot, and yeah, it was bad,” he said. “My mom had to actually like, tell me that everything was going to be alright. I’ve got a great family support system and really, just me mentally, I’m very strong as a human being so I just got through it naturally.
I just love the game of basketball so much that I couldn’t even fathom not playing with my team, so that kind of took a lot out of me.”
Wiseman is just one of many intriguing young pieces that Golden State has in stow to complement veterans like Curry, Green, and Klay Thompson, but it should be a very busy offseason for Dub Nation regardless.