The Golden State Warriors stepped up in a major way against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers defeating them on Martin Luker King Day 115-113. This win is a marquee one of the team as they have struggled this season against teams analysts favor to compete for the NBA Finals.
During the win, Warriors former Defensive Player of the Year, and star forward, Draymond Green had a moment that went viral as he spoke to rookie center James Wiseman about a matchup on the floor with Lakers veteran Marc Gasol.
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Green’s Mid-Game Advice to James Wiseman
Green, in Wiseman’s words, has often been looked at as a “big brother” to him. He’s been essential in helping the rookie learn on-the-fly and progress throughout this season.
After the play had ended, Green pulled Wiseman to the side to explain what he saw on the floor.
“I told you, ‘If you’re open anywhere on the floor, I’m going to get you,’” Green stated. “You can catch that ball right there and make a play. You didn’t see it, that’s my point. I got you in open space against Marc Gasol. I like that!”
I love this teaching moment interaction between Draymond Green and James Wiseman pic.twitter.com/v4HYbpOa3X
— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) January 19, 2021
“[Gasol] didn’t react and I didn’t really see him,” Green quipped via USA Today Sports. “I wasn’t really talking [trash], I was just telling [Wiseman] what I feel. … I think if I give [Wiseman] the ball right there, he knows how to handle it. He is 1-on-1 downhill with Marc Gasol, and I love Marc Gasol’s game, I think he’s been phenomenal all these years, he’s a champion — I like James’ chances if he’s 1-on-1 downhill under control.”
“Just continue to teach him. I think we all know, at times, it gets frustrating when the game is not going your way,” Green said. “I can only imagine how frustrating it can be for a 19-year-old who really hasn’t been through much in life at all, you know? It’ll be fine. Nobody is really worried about it. The game has to slow down for him. He has to slow down and that will happen over time.”
Warriors’ Coach Discusses Green & Wiseman Relationship
The transition from college basketball to the NBA can be a difficult one. Many players who were stars in the NCAA aren’t always as good once they make the league.
For someone like Wiseman, it’s even tougher as he only played in three NCAA games. This is why having a savvy veteran such as Green is so important to his development.
Golden State’s player development coach, Theo Robertson, joined the ‘Dubs Talk Podcast’, via Yahoo Sports, and spoke at length about how key Green has been for Wiseman this season.
“Draymond’s been a second coach, a primary coach. He’s been awesome for James,” Roberston said. “Just the communication, walking him through possession by possession where he needs to be, again, putting him in a position to be successful and just having that type of presence on the floor, a guy that has a lot of passion, a championship pedigree, a fierce competitor like no other. He’s been awesome to have next to [Wiseman] and really command the back line of our defense.”
“I see him absorbing [the information] and that’s a great thing. I think James has a tendency to get down on himself at times, but the biggest thing James will do is he’ll respond and he’ll bounce back. We’ve always encouraged him to have a ‘next play mentality,’ but at the same time, we want him to feel the impact of wanting to make a better, greater play, wanting to be better. You’re never going to reach a level of greatness or your ceiling if you’re not striving for that.
“So James definitely carries that with him. I think he’s mentioned at times that he’s a bit of perfectionist and that’s absolutely true. That’s not something he shies away from and we love that about him. And when Draymond challenges him in the ways that he does, that’s only a great thing for him.”