As if the long buildup to James Wiseman’s return hadn’t garnered enough anticipation already, Golden State Warriors teammate Steph Curry helped matters with a rather glowing assessment of the 20-year-old center.
Wiseman has been working his way back from a knee injury that cut short his rookie season and a rehab process that has taken up much of his second year in the NBA. Wiseman had originally been slated to return much earlier in the season, but suffered a setback that led to another surgery in December. Now cleared for contact work and participating in scrimmages, Wiseman’s return could be just days away, and Curry gave Warriors fans a preview of what to expect when he’s back.
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Curry Praises Wiseman’s Performance
Since being cleared for contact practices earlier this month, Wiseman has been increasing the intensity of his rehab and went through a scrimmage at the end of Wednesday’s practice. Curry said that the 7-footer looked great and will add a dimension currently missing from Golden State’s lineup.
“He’s a beast when you look at him on the floor, especially with the rest of our team,” Curry said, via Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. “With how quote, unquote undersized we are, he does stand out and can do some amazing things.”
Curry went on to say that Wiseman brought some good energy and flashed some of his athleticism on a putback dunk.
“It’s weird, because it was like that rusty first post-All-Star break scrimmage where the overall game was pretty sloppy, but he had a lot of good energy,” Curry said. “He got that putback dunk and is just kind of chomping at the bit to get to the next step of his return to play schedule.
Wiseman’s Return Coming Soon
The former No. 2 overall pick could be back in the lineup very soon. The team assigned him to the G League Santa Cruz Warriors on Friday, allowing him to get in more practice time in anticipation of his return to the court. The Warriors utilized a similar strategy with Klay Thompson as he neared his return, allowing him to get more scrimmage time with the G League affiliate as he ramped up his own rehab.
In a recent episode of the Locked on Warriors Podcast, Dieter Kurtenbach of the Bay Area News Group told his cohost Cyrus Saatsaz that there may now be a hard date for his return — March 1. The team had already hinted that Wiseman would get in some time before the playoffs started, and this date would give him close to six weeks back with the team.
The Warriors could be getting a bulked-up version of Wiseman when he finally does return. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Johnson noted that he “he has added a noticeable amount of muscle during his rehab,” which will likely help the Warriors in facing some bigger opponents. The Warriors still have two more games against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets and one against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.