Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman has been through the wringer in his attempt to return from the meniscus tear that has defined his career to date. On multiple occasions, the former No. 2 overall pick looked to be on the home stretch of his return-to-play journey, only to incur some setback or another.
At one point this past season, he even suited up for the Sea Dubs in what was expected to be the final hurdle to clear before he rejoined the main roster. Instead, he was shut down for the year when his knee swelled up on him.
Flash forward to now and the 21-year-old looks to be rounding the turn again. Throughout the NBA Finals, he was snapped doing floor work before games. And during his exit interview, he indicated that there was a “90%” chance he would be making another return during summer league.
On Wednesday, Warriors GM Bob Myers weighed in on that possibility and what Wiseman will be doing in the coming days.
Myers Sounds Off on Team’s Plan for Wiseman
Asked whether the chances of Wiseman lacing up his sneakers and hitting the hardwood for the Dubs this summer had gone up in recent days, the team’s top decision-maker was hesitant to put out an exact number. However, he made it clear that all signs point toward another big return.
“Umm, it’s not lower than 90,” Myers joked. “I don’t know if one, two, three. But he’s working out and no setbacks. He worked out yesterday, I think he’ll work out today. Which summer league he plays in, I don’t know if it’ll be the one here or in Vegas. He’ll scrimmage with our guys, he’s going to start doing some live stuff.”
Wiseman’s first opportunity to play summer ball will come on July 2 and 3 when the Warriors host the fourth annual California Classic at Chase Center. The NBA Summer League in Las Vegas will then run from July 7-17.
During his abridged rookie campaign, Wiseman showed flashes of his monster potential, averaging 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and one block in just 21.4 minutes per contest.
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Wiseman & Co. Will Have to Earn Minutes
Whether Wiseman plays in summer league or not, he’s not going to be gifted minutes next season simply because he’s healthy or because he was a high lottery pick. Nor will Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, for that matter.
Asked whether the youngsters would have larger roles on the team in 2022-23, Myers made it clear that they’d have to prove themselves worthy of the bump.
“If they earn it,” Myers said matter-of-factly. “Steve [Kerr] did a good job, it wasn’t easy to try to kind of assimilate those players, whether it was Wiseman the first year — trying to fit him in — Kuminga, Moody. It’s not a perfect thing to do with a team that’s trying to win a championship, but I thought he did a really good job of finding moments for them.”
Myers believes that the work they put in during the offseason will play a large part in their ability to transform those moments into steady minutes.
“This offseason will be big for all three of those guys, just like it was for [Jordan] Poole heading into his third year. All those guys are going to play in summer league… hopefully, be ready for training camp. And Steve will get a longer look, certainly at James.
“If those guys earn it and they can help us win, I think Steve will play them.”