The Golden State Warriors are playing arguably their best basketball of the season. Winners of three straight, including back-to-back road wins for the first time, Steph Curry has been percolating, and his backcourt mate Klay Thompson has found his footing and looks better than pre-injury Klay.
Add in a healthier Andrew Wiggins, the grit of Draymond Green and the dynamic play of mercurial Jordan Poole. Center Kevin Looney just knows how to play. Even their bench is starting to figure it out with Donte DiVincenzo, JaMychal Green, Jonathan Kuminga and Anthony Lamb.
Will Golden State Trade James Wiseman?
But where does that leave James Wiseman, the uber talented 7-footer from Memphis who hasn’t found his footing in the league as of yet?
With the Warriors in win-now championship mode, there’s been no real time for Wiseman to develop. And while it’s not his fault, it’s his and the Warriors’ reality.
Injuries last season cost him some valuable developmental time, and it just hasn’t happened for the 2020 No. 2 overall pick. Former No. 1 pick and NBA Finals star Andrew Wiggins opened up about what he sees and how he’s trying his best to keep the young center’s spirits up.
In a recent interview with NBC Sports, “Air Wiggy” had this to say when asked about that weird dynamic.
“For sure, especially as a young guy, NBA could be tough, especially playing on a good team like this championship-caliber team,” Wiggins told reporters Sunday. “It’s tough and it’s going to be a lot of ups and downs. But he’s still so young. The sky is the limit for him. So much potential.”
Potential hasn’t helped Wiseman crack the Warriors rotation since Dec. 28. That has many believing the Warriors, who are in need of some size heading into the playoffs, could unload Wiseman via trade.
James Wiseman returns for the Warriors tonight, but it'll be difficult to find rotation minutes. Draymond Green has been the starting center, Looney off the bench, JaMychal Green an option.
Steve Kerr: "Do the math. It's hard to get four centers into a game, especially in 2023." pic.twitter.com/tuWPfnRu99
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 26, 2023
Wiggins Lauds Wiseman’s Growth Despite Tough Stretch
Per Wiggins, the 20-year-old Wiseman hasn’t let his lack of playing time affect his effort and preparation.
“He’s grown so much,” Wiggins continued. “I don’t know if he’s seen, but himself from me watching him last year to this year is unbelievable how much he’s grown. So he’s got to keep working and keep his head on straight as ready is. He is a good kid and the sky’s the limit for him. He’s got a bright future.”
That he does, but in order to see that come to fruition it may have to happen in another city. The Warriors aren’t in a position to wait on Wiseman with Curry, Thompson and Green on the downside of their future Hall of Fame careers. And that’s the ugly part of this business; Wiseman needs reps and the Warriors can’t give him those right now as they chase championships.
As Warriors general manager Bob Myers tries to upgrade Golden State’s roster before the Feb. 9 trade deadline, he must take a hard look at moving James Wiseman, @Con_Chron writes.https://t.co/xviMvKZl4N
— Sporting Green (@SportingGreenSF) February 1, 2023
It’s The NBA Things Can Change Quickly
GM Bob Myers and owner Joe Lacob have been adamant about not trading any of their young core, which includes the aforementioned Poole, Wiseman, Kuminga and Moses Moody. But if the right offer comes along that can help them in the present you could see Wiseman and Moody headed elsewhere. They have to at least take a flier on it because the window of their Big 3 is closing. Wiseman needs to keep himself ready and focus on what he can control.
Donte DiVincenzo coaching up James Wiseman on the Warriors bench 👏 pic.twitter.com/VyllWeqcJW
— NBA (@NBA) January 28, 2023
Head coach Steve Kerr reiterated that very thing to Wiseman over the weekend.
“One of the things I told James is that in this league things change quickly,” Kerr told reporters Sunday. “You just don’t know. I reminded him that JK had some DNPs early this season. It’s tough. But things can change quickly, and you always have to stay ready.”
For Wiseman, the hope is he will look back on this in the future as a moment that helped make him great.