James Wiseman’s role with the Golden State Warriors was reportedly a point of contention for the team last season, but one insider believes there’s a simple way for him to thrive in an already rolling offense when he returns this year.
Wiseman is still likely weeks away from his return to the court after undergoing knee surgery last season, and it’s not clear yet just what role he will play when he does come back. The Warriors are already off to a hot start this season without Wiseman, going 4-0 while scoring 115.2 points per game, good for third in the conference.
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Warriors Should Keep Things Simple, Insider Says
Looking ahead to Wiseman’s return, NBC Sports Bay Area reporter Grant Liffmann wrote that the team should simplify his role on the court.
“A healthy James Wiseman could really thrive in this current offensive style/scheme for the Warriors, as long as his role is simplified and specified to match his strengths,” he tweeted. “As his experience grows, the role and usage can be expanded of course.”
The Warriors have already adopted a similar strategy last season, working in some concepts on offense that played to the strengths of the No. 2 overall draft pick. That included a more simplified approach using high ball screens and pick-and-rolls, which Warriors veteran Draymond Green noted was a great fit for Wiseman’s skill set.
“It’s definitely a good weapon for us to continue to build on our offense,” Green said back in April, via NBA.com. “And it’s also a way of continuing to use [James Wiseman] more, because he’s a tough cover rolling to the rim.”
Taking a more simplistic approach with Wiseman could also help avoid some of the internal tensions that arose last season about how to best develop the young center. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said during an appearance on “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” last season that there was “organizational tension” between those who wanted to see Wiseman getting more playing time to aid in his development and allow him to play through his mistakes and others who believed his time on the court should be more limited.
Wiseman Working Toward Return
It could still be a few months before Warriors fans get to see what role Wiseman will play this year. In an October 20 appearance on 95.7 The Game, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that the team is not rushing his rehab.
“Then with James [Wiseman], it’s been a very slow six months because we’re being very careful with him and the meniscus injury, but the last few days he’s really started to ramp it up, running sprints and doing some things laterally,” Kerr said.
Kerr added that new assistant coach Dejan Milojevic has been working closely with Wiseman. The former Serbian pro player and coach joined the Warriors this offseason, bringing with him some high hopes for Wiseman’s development. Milojevic had previously worked with Nikola Jokic in Serbia, with many crediting the coach for helping to develop the overweight teenager into a skilled big man and eventual NBA MVP.