Being the number 2 pick in the NBA Draft comes with a lot of criticism. If you’re unable to live up to the hype that most will bestow on you right away then you’re immediately thought of as a “bust” or worthless pick.
For the Golden State Warriors, it was a scenario they hoped they would be able to avoid. With former Memphis Tigers center James Wiseman as the likely pick on their draft board and all 3 of their All-Stars coming back into the 2020-21 season healthy, Wiseman would have a leg up on his competition being drafted into an environment where failure would only be a small stepping stone.
That is until reality set in. Once All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson was ruled out due to his torn right Achilles combined with Wiseman and former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green both missing training camp due to coronavirus, Wiseman started the season behind the proverbial 8-ball.
He’s since had some strong games here and there but overall has disappointed those who looked to shower him with praise being the big man of the future for Golden State. Luckily for him, all of the negativity is from those outside the organization.
Those inside it, want to give him the time he needs to develop and see that he has the intangibles, tools, and smarts to do so and want him to ‘have fun’ while doing it.
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Bob Myers Wants ‘Success’ for Wiseman
Following the passing of the NBA’s trade deadline, the Warriors’ general manager Bob Myers was able to be open about some of the Warriors’ plans moving forward. Among those plans, Myers discussed what the organization believes of Wiseman and what he wants for him specifically,
“There are a lot of things that I like. There are some things he clearly needs to work on,” Myers said to reporters via USA Today. There are some things that we can help him (with) and there are some things he can help himself. That’s the partnership we have with a player like that. It’s their buy-in, it’s our commitment. Then it culminates and when it culminates is different for everybody. We all want it now. I’m sure James wants it now. Very few players get it right away. So, we’ll see.”
“It’s going to be a road and he is going to have to be an active participant in it and the good news is he is. He loves basketball, he cares. You can see it in his body language. He is a really wonderful kid and he wants it and that’s what you bank on with someone like that with that kind of raw talent that they’ll put the work in, and he does put the work in. The progression for him will be consistent success. That’s the mark of a really, really good player and that’s what we’re striving for.”
Steve Kerr Wants Wiseman to ‘Have Fun’
Following Golden State’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks, their head coach Steve Kerr discussed what he saw from the Warriors’ top rookie after saying pregame he wanted him to “have fun. I want him to relax and play.”
“He felt more comfortable out on the floor, for sure,” Kerr said to reporters via NBC Sports after the game. “I think this was all just part of the process. I’m going to probably have to say this every day but it’s just going to take time and reps. And he needs to see the pictures and feel the speed of the game. He needs to do it over and over and over again because that’s the only way to get where he wants to go and where we want him to be.”