After winning last season’s title, the Golden State Warriors will look to defend their title next season. Key reserves like Gary Payton II and Otto Porter left for bigger paydays in Portland and Toronto respectively. Both players will be missed tremendously as they were key pieces that helped the Warriors win playoff games on the journey to their title.
Although many of their key reserves left the Bay Area for bigger paydays, the core of the starting rotation remains intact. The Warriors’ young players will return and be relied on to take the next step and contribute to the rotation. Ownership and the front office are trusting this young core to be the next generation of Warriors to keep them relevant.
Over the past season, the Warriors refused to trade their young players to strengthen their playoff rotation. The brass trusted that they could still contend for the title if they got healthy while keeping the young guys around so they could build on the playoff experience. Fast forward to now, it looks like all of that paid off.
The Warriors’ 2020 second overall pick, James Wiseman, has missed over a full season and has seen his stock drop to an all-time low. After having a strong showing in this past Summer League, Wiseman is looking to get back on track and be a key member of the rotation moving forward.
James Wiseman Still Highly Coveted by Other Teams
Not surprisingly, other teams have tried to pounce on Wiseman and take advantage. According to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney, sources told him that teams continue to express interest in the big man. The Warriors have shut down every inquiry.
Many teams would love to take a chance at such a talented young big in the former Memphis center. Now is the time to try and pry Wiseman away with his value so far from where it was when he was drafted.
During a conversation with Deveney and Steve Bulpett, the longtime insider shared similar sentiments to what many in the Warriors organization are probably thinking.
“The only question I have with him is health,” Bulpett says. “They’re confident he is fine, and I wouldn’t let anyone within five miles of him, you know? If someone calls and says they’re interested in Ja—I am hanging up the phone. Don’t even get the whole name out. This guy can be a beast. Big body, good movement, good touch, all those things. He has a chance to be a major, major player. They went through their bad fortune times to get a guy like this who they never would have gotten. If you look at Golden State and say, OK, what hole do they have there in their lineup? Well, they don’t have the dominant big-guy type. This guy can be that.”
Wiseman Could Be a Difference Maker for the Defending Champions
Unlike lottery teams, the Warriors will not have much pressure on big Wise to excel. He will merely be asked to set screens, block shots, and finish around the rim.
Wiseman played in four straight games to finish off Summer League, and this was the longest stretch of games since his rookie year when he played in 10 straight during March 2021. The talent is there, but to improve as a player, Wiseman needs to get more repetitions on the court so he can expand his game.
The heavy lifting will be done by future Hall-of-Famers Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson, so the big man’s development can be a bit slower. If Wiseman can get through next season playing in a majority of games without much injury, that would be deemed a success, and his value will be restored.