In only his second game back from a wrist injury, Golden State Warriors rookie James Wiseman put up 11 points and five rebounds to help the Warriors to a 111-107 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. After the win, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr appeared to have finally found the best way to get the most out of the rookie.
Kerr Will Utilize His Young Center
Wiseman finished the game on Wednesday night with 5-of-8 shooting from the field in his 18 minutes of play. Although he did foul out in the fourth quarter, Wiseman managed to still reach double digits after only returning from his injury on Tuesday after missing 11 games.
In his postgame interview, Kerr revealed that his plan for the future, which seemed to work out well against the Pacers, is to utilize Wiseman as part of the team’s second unit at the beginning of the second quarter and the fourth.
As it’s been shown, Wiseman has proven to be quite effective in his new role on the Warriors after he lost his starting role back in January. What seemed to be an experiment by Golden State’s coaching staff, being that they were without star guard Steph Curry, worked out in the team’s favor. It would appear that Wiseman’s new role will be seen more often in the future. Kerr also commended the young center in the same interview.
It was up and down, but everything is great for James right now. Every experience matters. It’s tough coming back from an absence. The second game back, to me, is always the harder one. The first night back after an absence, you have the adrenaline, you’re playing, you just feel great. The second night, the adrenaline goes away and it’s always a little more difficult. I think, tonight, he had some good plays. You saw how fluid and athletic he is. Just by being out on the floor, he impacts the game. He is learning every day and all of these experiences are really good for him.
This matchup against the Pacers was Wiseman’s second game back since being out since January with a wrist injury. Before his injury, the Warriors’ No. 2 overall pick was given a bench role that he actually received very well. Wiseman even said that losing his starting role was an eye-opening opportunity that allowed him to learn from the starters and see the game from a much different point of view while he is still adjusting to being a part of the league.
Wiseman Has Much Potential
This last matchup against the Pacers was just one of the two games in the whole month of February that the Warriors had a true center available to play. While Kevon Looney has been playing center in the Warriors small-ball lineup, Wiseman is the team’s only current traditional center. After returning for two games, Wiseman appears to not show any visible issues with his wrist. It’s just like he picked up where he left off back in January.
Still, Wiseman is only 19 and only has 22 regular-season games under his belt. He isn’t in the starting lineup anymore, but there’s still plenty of time left for the rookie to mature his game and earn his starting position back. Wiseman’s potential is very evident and we don’t foresee him slowing down anytime soon.
Although the Warriors may not be a Finals contending team just yet, they are still among the top teams in the Western Conference. This season has most definitely been a year of adjustment for not just Wiseman but the whole Warriors organization. While Wiseman still battles to find his identity in the league, the small adjustments help form the larger picture.