A string of strong performances likely won’t be enough to earn James Wiseman an immediate return ticket to Golden State, an insider says.
The Warriors sent the former No. 2 overall pick down to the G League Santa Cruz Warriors for more seasoning as he struggled at the start of the season. Wiseman is coming off a knee injury that wiped out the final stretch of his rookie season and all of his second year in the NBA, and ran into some difficulty to start this season. He fell out of the rotation after a string of poor performances, with the Warriors deciding earlier this month to send him to Santa Cruz where he has more latitude to play through his struggles.
Though Wiseman has shown improvement during his stint with the team’s G League affiliate, NBC Sports Bay Area writer Ali Thanwalla noted that he isn’t likely to leave anytime soon.
Wiseman Showing Improvement in Santa Cruz
Wiseman has used the opportunity in the lower league to show off the skill set that led the Warriors to take him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2020. He is averaging 15 points and 9.6 rebounds in 26 minutes per game, looking more comfortable on offense and contributing beyond the stat sheet. Thanwalla noted that he has been executing pick-and-rolls and finding a better rhythm than he did in shaky appearances with Golden State this season.
But as Thanwalla noted, it doesn’t appear that Wiseman will be leaving his G League assignment anytime in the immediate future.
“Wiseman has been with the Sea Dubs for almost two weeks, and with Golden State on the road for the next few days, it doesn’t appear as if his time in Santa Cruz will end soon,” Thanwalla wrote. “Santa Cruz’s next game isn’t until Friday, Dec. 2.”
When Wiseman was initially sent down, Kerr hinted that it would not be a short assignment.
“He’s gonna go to Santa Cruz tomorrow and we will keep him there for an extended period to get really good practice time and some games,” Kerr said. “It’s not gonna be one game and bring him back. We want to give him maybe 10 straight days…”
Warriors Finding Their Footing
After starting the season 3-7, the Warriors have found some stability as they have gone 7-3 over the last 10 games to reach .500. In Wiseman’s absence, the Warriors have leaned more heavily on veteran JaMychal Green and two-way player Anthony Lamb in the frontcourt.
Warriors star Steph Curry said the team has gotten strong performances out of many of their reserves, which has helped to spark the turnaround after the team’s rough start.
“Rotations seem more consistent on a nightly basis,” Curry said after the team’s 129-118 win over the Utah Jazz on November 35. “It’s all about guys understanding their roles, what they’re asked to do and then getting more reps to do those things. We can go 10 deep right now and everybody’s filling a specific role and playing hard and playing smart and moving in the right direction. We’ve played 20 games, glad to be.500 and we’re looking to try to continue to build momentum. But these last five, six games have felt a lot better.”