With the Golden State Warriors having returned to their championship perch last season, the pressure is suddenly back on the club to keep the title train rolling. At the same time, this is kind of old hat for the Dubs’ core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and even Kevon Looney.
In truth, the player feeling the most pressure right now may just be former No. 2 pick James Wiseman, who’s technically entering his third season in the league despite having just 39 career games to his credit.
Given his draft position, not to mention the fact that Warriors owner Joe Lacob once called him a “once-in-a-decade” talent, much has been expected of the now 21-year-old. Alas, he hasn’t had much of a chance to make good on his massive potential to this point.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, though, that’s about to change.
The Time Hase Come for Wiseman to Strut His Stuff
While opinions vary on what exactly Wiseman’s ceiling is, Shelburne isn’t ready to brand him a bust or even a disappointment. As she sees it, the conditions he has dealt with in his early career have far exceeded what the average NBA rookie has to contend with.
“He just hasn’t had time to come into the NBA the way a normal rookie would come into the NBA because of injuries and because of what everyone in the world has been through in the past couple of years with Covid,” Shelburne said.
Now that those things are largely in the rearview, though, Shelburne believes that the time is nigh for Wiseman to show the roundball universe what he’s all about.
“I think with James, like, this is the year he needs to take a step forward. He’s been hearing all about how good Anthony Edwards is, all about how good LaMelo Ball is. This is the year he establishes himself in the NBA, and it starts with training camp.”
To that end, the fact that he’s going through camp now after having played in summer league and kept himself healthy looks to be making a big difference already.
Added Shelburne: “Steve Kerr said the other day, ‘He’s just picking things up so much faster now from, day one to day three, you can see the concepts are taking hold for James Wiseman.”
Is Time of the Essence for the Dubs Center?
This may be Wiseman’s third go-round with Golden State, and he’s still young and relatively inexperienced. Also, he averaged a respectable 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game and showed some range on his jumper as a rookie. But there’s a chance that his team may be looking to see some real progress sooner rather than later nonetheless.
If they don’t, well…
“I think there are some in the organization who are looking at what they have in terms of young players and would like to maybe deal off one or two in order to make a stronger run at defending the title this year while you’ve got all the vets around,” a West exec told Heavy.com‘s Sean Deveney.
“Wiseman is always at the top of the list…”