NBA coach says Wiseman is “overwhelmed” at the center for dubs and originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
While James Wiseman spends time working on his G League game, a rival Western Conference coach isn’t sure the former No. 2 draft pick has what it takes to become center for the defending NBA champion Warriors to play.
“He looked [like he’s] over the head,” said unnamed Heavy Sports trainer Sean Deveney. “You can’t have him on the floor with Draymond [Green] because they’re really easy to guard with them. And you can’t have him out there with a big role in the second unit because he’s not good enough to carry that group.
“What are you doing with him? I don’t think they know, so he’ll be down there [in the G League] because at least you know he’s gonna be on the floor.”
Following the Warriors’ resounding win over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday, coach Steve Kerr announced Wiseman will be spending an “extended stint” with the team’s G-League affiliate in Santa Cruz, starting Tuesday. His first game of this stretch will be Saturday night, although it will be Wiseman’s third G League game of his career after two games with the Santa Cruz Warriors last year.
The 7-foot-1 center’s performance has been up and down on his return to the court for the 2022-23 NBA season. He played again for the first time since April 2021 after recovering from a meniscus tear. Wiseman played just nine minutes against the Spurs and did not see the floor in any of Golden State’s previous three games.
The 21-year-old’s third year in the league didn’t quite go according to plan, though he started the season with just 39 NBA games. Despite this, Wiseman told Deveney he paid no heed to those who doubted he would ever live up to the lottery’s expectations.
“I’ve been through a lot of hard times,” Wiseman told Deveney. “I saw the negative side of social media in myself. I don’t converse with this stuff anymore because it’s negative and it’s just gossip.
“I just focus on my priorities, go to the gym and [getting] better work on stuff so i’m ready for the games.
Wiseman’s stint with the Sea Dubs should enable him to do just that.
“It’s not going to be a game and it’s going to bring him back,” Kerr said Monday. “We want to give him 10 days straight, something like that, and then come back.”
However, the anonymous Western Conference coach believes Wiseman has a steep hill to climb if he is to become the big man the Warriors want him to be.
“What’s difficult for him is that it’s a difficult position to play for this team,” the coach told Deveney. “You do so much screening that you have to be constantly aware of your position on the ground and when to make your throw [to the basket] and if you have to leave, set another screen.
“You have to unlearn some of what you know about being a center.”
Whether it’s learning new things or breaking old habits, Wiseman’s trip to Santa Cruz could be a turning point, just as it was for Jordan Poole.
RELATED: Moody remains confident Wiseman will figure things out
And one thing is certain: the young athlete is ready for the challenge.
“I can handle it,” Wiseman told Deveney. “I don’t think it was too much when I was a rookie. I feel like it was probably a bit too much in terms of my inexperience in terms of playing the NBA game.
“But I feel like I can do anything. I am convinced of myself.”
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