Warriors’ Big Man Named Team’s ‘Most Polarizing Player’: B/R


Getty Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman talks with head coach Steve Kerr.

The time is finally near for the long-awaited returns of Klay Thompson and James Wiseman. It looks like the Golden State Warriors will getting back both rotation pieces at some point this winter and Dub Nation is fired up.

While Thompson’s return will be certainly be emotional – given what the sharpshooter has contributed to the franchise over his career-long stay in the Bay Area – Wiseman’s comeback can’t be ignored.

The 20-year-old had looked to be on his way to a solid rookie season in 2020, before suffering a torn right meniscus in April 2021. It’s been nearly eight months since Wiseman took the court for an NBA contest – which is obviously no comparison to Thompson’s near two-and-a-half year stretch – but still a lengthy layoff nonetheless.

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In part due to his injury history and limited NBA experience, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley sees Wiseman as the Warriors’ “Most Polarizing Player”.

‘2020’s No. 2 Pick Remains a Massive Question Mark’


GettyGolden State Warriors center is introduced before a game in January.

Buckley posted an article on Sunday featuring who he thought was each NBA team’s “Most Polarizing Player“.

“With just 39 NBA games under James Wiseman’s belt – and only three college contests before them – 2020’s No. 2 pick remains a massive question mark,” Buckley wrote. “His physical tools jump off the screen. His 7’0″ frame features a sweeping 7’6″ wingspan, and he has enough bounce to live above the rim. His combination of size and athleticism should at least set him up for a rim-running role, and if his jump-shooting flashes become more consistent, his game could grow beyond that gig.”

In 39 contests last season – including 27 starts – Wiseman averaged 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 0.9 blocks and 21.4 minutes per game, while shooting 51.9% from the field, 31.6% on three-pointers (12-for-38) and 62.8 from the free throw line.

“But what if the expansion never happens? Shooting success isn’t promised, there’s no reason to believe he’ll add passing to his arsenal and his defensive impact could always be cut down by a lack of awareness,” Buckley wrote of Wiseman. “What [if] he’s just a DeAndre Jordan reboot? That’s a fine player, but it’s galaxies removed from the franchise talent Golden State hopes Wiseman can be.”

Pair of Former Warriors Also Make the List

Oubre -Dlo

GettyCharlotte Hornets small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. and Minnesota Timberwolves D’Angelo Russell.

There are two other recent Golden State players who make the author’s list of polarizing players. First up is first-year Charlotte Hornets forward Kelly Oubre Jr.

“There are moments when the light bulb clicks for Kelly Oubre Jr., and when he strings enough of them together, he can convince observers he’s on the track to two-way stardom,” Buckley wrote. “There are far more, though, where his defensive awareness wanes, his shots miss their mark and you wonder if he’ll ever outgrow a reserve role. His physical tools are elite and his shooting form looks convincing, but the results have never quite been there, save perhaps for his 2019-20 effort for the Phoenix Suns.”

Following that season with the Suns where Oubre Jr. set career-highs in points (18.7), rebounds (6.4), assists (1.5), steals (1.3) and minutes per game (34.5) across 56 games a career-high 55 starts, the lefty was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder – and six days later the Warriors – in November 2020. Oubre Jr. also posted a career-best 45.2% field goal percentage during his lone full season in Phoenix.

The other former Golden State player to appear on the list had a relatively short stay in the Bay Area during the 2019-2020 campaign and now suits up for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“D’Angelo Russell has previously booked an All-Star trip and twice averaged better than 20 points. More than one team has placed difference-maker hopes on his shoulders. The Lakers took him second overall in the 2015 draft. The Warriors maxed him out after getting him in a sign-and-trade deal for Kevin Durant. The Timberwolves sent a lightly protected first-round pick to get Russell out of Golden State” Buckley wrote. “There are some big believers in Russell.”

Buckley adds that at times, Russell looks like an “offensive star”, but on other occasions, “he battles bouts of tunnel vision, streaky shooting and close-range finishing that’s hindered by a lack of explosiveness.”

“DLo” averaged what would be a career-high 23.6 points per game over his 33 contests with the Dubs in 2019 and early 2020 before being moved to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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