James Wiseman just wanted to keep hooping.
The No. 2 overall pick of the Warriors was considered a project before the draft and certainly learned some hard lessons on the court, had a setback due to COVID-19 plus battled injuries, but just wanted to keep playing. The torn meniscus that ended his season hit Wiseman hard, he admitted in his latest video diary for ESPN’s The Undefeated (hat tip NBC Sports Bay Area).
“It’s kind of hard, I was really down. I can say that I was crying a lot. Yeah, it was bad. My mom had to actually tell me everything was gonna be all right. But I got a great family support system… I just love the game of basketball so much that I couldn’t even fathom not playing with my teammates. That kind of took a lot out of me.”
Wiseman started 27 games for the Warriors, averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, but looked lost on the court for stretches, especially defensively, as rookies often do. He was a questionable fit in Steve Kerr’s motion offense designed for shooters. Wiseman showed flashes of the athleticism and skill that made him a top pick, but he has a lot of work to do to unleash that potential.
Can he do that on a timeline that works with Stephen Curry and the rest of the Warriors, who are in win-now mode? That question has led plenty of people around the league to speculate Golden State might try to trade Wiseman — and upcoming pick or picks in this draft — to land veteran players ready to win now. Warriors GM Bob Myers denied that, saying: “I expect him to be on the team next year. I don’t want to trade James Wiseman.” The reality is it likely depends on what the Warriors could get in such a trade.
Wiseman should be fully recovered from the knee surgery and ready to go next season, wherever he is.