Now that the 2021-2022 NBA season is nearly one month old, one would think that the swirling trade rumors surrounding Golden State Warriors former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman would’ve disappeared, or at least gone on hold until the February trade deadline. It’s true, compared to the summer, the Wiseman trade talk has subsided quite a bit, but with some NBA experts unconvinced with the Dubs hot 9-1 start, many still believe that Stephen Curry needs a healthy superstar to join him on the court as soon as possible.
Nobody knows what Klay Thompson will provide once he returns, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be the same guy he was two years ago.
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Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley recently looked at some of the “Best Trade Chips” in the NBA today, and one of them was Wiseman.
Wiseman ‘Remains Overloaded With Potential’
Included in Buckley’s post are plenty of guys who were previously tied to the Warriors over the summer like Buddy Hield, CJ McCollum, Myles Turner and of course, Ben Simmons.
When discussing Wiseman’s possible availability, Buckley wrote that while Golden State isn’t “hurrying to unload” the big man, but they weren’t “making him off-limits either”.
“They simply need ‘a home run type’ of trade to pull the trigger, The Athletic’s Anthony Slater said on the HoopsHype Podcast,” Buckley wrote. “That’s a reasonable stance, since Wiseman, the second overall pick in 2020, remains overloaded with potential. He’s a bouncy 7-footer who can rock the rim and protect it, and his flashes of outside shooting hint at an incredible upside.”
Wiseman should be back in the next month or so, if not sooner, so will have plenty of time to send his trade stock sky-rocketing, if that’s what the Dubs intend to do.
“Golden State has reasons to let the Chef cook – when someone can go for 50 points and 10 assists, you kind of have to let him – but it probably didn’t plan on him spending his 30s by logging the three highest usage rates of his career,” Buckley wrote. “Curry needs more ready-to-contribute help, and Wiseman is the key to go find it. Long-term rebuilders should be drooling over his best-case scenario, which could feature focal-point scoring and elite paint protection.”
Should Wiseman Start Over Looney if/When He Returns?
Though it’s impossible to predict what kind of contribution Wiseman will provide when he presumably makes his return to the lineup, fans can already see what kind of impact starting center Kevon Looney has had through the early stages of the season. Through 10 games – all of them starts – Looney has averaged 5.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 15.5 minutes per contest.
Looney’s shooting an impressive 61.8% from the field, though he only takes 3.4 shot attempts per game, and he’s currently 11-for-19 from the free throw line – good for 57.9%. Looney’s never been a high minutes guy, as his 19.0 minutes per game last season were a career-high.
With the success the Warriors have been having so far this year, especially defensively, there would seem to be no reason to take Looney out of the starting lineup upon Wiseman’s return.
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