The Golden State Warriors had the second overall selection in the 2020 NBA Draft several weeks ago. Using it, the team decided to draft former Memphis Tigers center, James Wiseman.
Wiseman only appeared in a few NCAA games, three to be exact, due to an NCAA violation. However, those three games proved enough to NBA teams that he remained at the top of draft boards as he averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game.
Adding a player of Wiseman’s caliber to the Warriors will only help as the team solidifies their interior defense and begins to build for their future post their current big three of two-time MVP Steph Curry, former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green, and All-Star Klay Thompson. Yet in order for Wiseman to contribute, he has to get on the floor with them.
The rookie only just began practicing with the team this past week after being held out due to him and Green both testing positive for coronavirus. The unfortunate news and timing of this diagnosis almost eliminated the entire preseason for Wiseman who, as a rookie, needs as many reps as he can get in order to find his footing in the NBA.
Prior to joining the Warriors, Wiseman spent some time working out in preparation for the draft and was fortunate enough to learn from some of the league’s veterans about how to slow the game down.
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Houston Star Helping Wiseman Develop
Before the draft, Wiseman was in Miami preparing for the upcoming 2020-21 NBA season. Being there, he was able to play against veterans of the league and get a taste of what he’ll experience on a nightly basis.
One veteran, in particular, John Wall of the Houston Rockets, apparently helped Wiseman learn a thing or two while also impressing him.
I actually trained with John Wall — he’s super quick. He was teaching me a lot of stuff and the game kind of slowed down.
Wall is one of the fastest players in the NBA and saying he’s super quick may be an understatement. Even still, going from less than a handful of college games to playing full-court with NBA veterans is a steep learning curve for any rookie coming into the league looking to find their place.
Luckily for Wiseman, he has several champions he can rely on to help him with the smaller nuances of the game, and to take attention away from him early on, which may result in him blossoming a lot sooner than most would think.
Wiseman’s First Official NBA Game
With the NBA season just around the corner and opening night being December 22nd, it looks as if Wiseman, albeit fully recovered from coronavirus, will get his first taste of live game action against the Brooklyn Nets.
The game itself already has several storylines with it being former Warriors’ Finals MVP Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s first official game together, former NBA MVP Steve Nash’s first official game as a head coach, and former teammates turned rivals as Curry and Green will look to match up against Durant and the rest of the Nets.
Lower on that list is Wiseman going against former NBA All-Star DeAndre Jordan. Jordan is one of the more physically imposing and active centers in the league and it will certainly be a great test for Wiseman to see how far he’s come along since his collegiate days and how much further he’ll have to go to be effective against talents like Jordan.
Nonetheless, as confident as Wiseman sounds in his post-practice interviews about his daily improvements, it may not be long before he’s able to match up well against the NBA’s best centers and eventually become one himself.