League Insider Suggests Radical Move for Warriors’ Wiseman

James Wiseman Warriors-Wizards

Getty James Wiseman battles to keep control of the ball during a preseason game between the Golden State Warriors and the Washington Wizards.

The Golden State Warriors‘ latest road trip — a five-game affair that included stops in Charlotte, Detroit, both Florida cities and New Orleans — went about as poorly as it could have possibly gone. Golden State lost all five games while coughing up nearly 120 points per 100 possessions and the second unit continued to be a hot mess.

While several players struggled on the court, it was James Wiseman who became the poster child for the Dubs’ problems. Even as he finished with just five points in 16 minutes against the Pels on Friday, though, head coach Steve Kerr continued to have the former No. 2 pick’s back.

“I thought James did a really good job,” Kerr opined. “He made some really nice plays, he rebounded the ball well tonight. James’ attitude is phenomenal — it always has [been]. He’s overcome so much with the injury and, as I said yesterday, the progress of these young guys is not something we assess on a daily basis. It’s really a long-term process.”

Kerr’s vote of confidence notwithstanding, there’s a chance that the best place for Wiseman right now — as the Warriors attempt to regain their footing in the wild West — isn’t with the main roster.

Insider Pitches New Strategy for Wiseman

On the November 4 episode of the Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon had a suggestion for Kerr with regard to putting Wiseman in the best position to grow and succeed.

“I think it’s getting to the point where they’re going to have to consider pulling the plug on Wiseman being a rotation player. They’re already cutting his minutes. I’m saying send him to the G League, that’s where he needs to be,” MacMahon said on the show.

Wiseman’s counting stats through 10 games are more or less inoffensive. In 13.8 minutes of play per game, the blue-chipper is averaging 7.3 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 60.4% from the field.

That said, the Dubs have been outscored by 24.6 points/100 poss. when Wiseman has been on the floor. Their rebounding has suffered during those minutes, too, with the team collecting just 45.9% of available boards.

As McMahon sees it, the Wiseman and the Warriors can’t be worried about the stigma attached to sending a high lottery pick down to developmental. They just need to do whatever is necessary for the baller’s long-term prosperity while preserving their own ability to compete.

“There should be no shame in going to the G League, getting minutes, making mistakes that aren’t going to be under the microscope of… you’re making mistakes that are costing the defending champion, dynasty Warriors games.”

The Dubs’ Two Timelines Come Up Against Each Other

MacMahon’s latter point is a big one, as the Warriors aren’t just any team trying to bring a prospect — or multiple prospects — along.

They’re also the defending NBA champions with an expectation of winning games and getting back to the Finals. And playing a negative-impact player like Wiseman, even if it’s a good thing for his development, isn’t really an option when losses are mounting as a result.

“If [Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga] were on the Orlando Magic, fine — let them make those mistakes,” the league insider said. “The fact they’re on the Warriors right now and it gets late early in the Western Conference…

“Man, you don’t want to dig out of a hole in the West because you might be trying to play your way into the playoffs from the play-in scenario.”

As such, a G League stay may be the best course of action for all parties.

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