James Wiseman had an up-and-down rookie season for the Warriors as the big man struggled to find a consistent rhythm due to injuries and COVID protocols.
On the court, Wiseman had difficulty developing chemistry with Steph Curry. Wiseman knows he must improve his on-court chemistry with Curry and develop a rapport with the returning Klay Thompson in order to have a successful sophomore season.
"Just really to simplify my game," Wiseman said Monday at Warriors Media Day when asked how he plans to improve the chemistry with Curry. "Play my role to the best of my ability and just like get as much sessions in as I can with Klay and Steph in terms of pick and roll so that we can have that chemistry on the court so that it can be just a one-two combo every time."
Wiseman's rookie season came to an end when he had to undergo surgery to repair a right meniscus tear in his knee. The 20-year-old center won't be able to fully participate in training camp, but can do individual drills and said his rehab is coming along nicely.
"Just taking it day by day," Wiseman said Monday. "The timing and the date is unknown but I can do individual workouts in training camp to get myself ready.
"I"m basically like 50 to 60 percent, so I'm getting there," Wiseman said. "It's really just [seeing how I feel] on a consistent basis. Just day-to-day, just basically how I feel."
The Warriors will need Wiseman to take a leap this season. Golden State is thin at the center position and will have to rely on Wiseman to crash the glass and protect the rim, two areas the Warriors struggled in last season.
Wiseman already has been hard at work with new assistant coach Dejan Milojević on improving in those areas and learning from a turbulent rookie year.
"Basically just reading the patterns on defense," Wiseman said. "Making sure that I call out the patters on defense and staying out of foul trouble. So just defending without fouling and just using my verticality more. Because I can be a threat at the rim if I use that correctly."
The Warriors have a lot of chips in the Wiseman basket heading into this season. How much Wiseman improves and how Thompson looks upon his return are the two things that will dictate whether or not the Warriors reach their ceiling. As Wiseman tells it, he is laser-focused on doing everything he can to be the player the Warriors need this season.
"Just working in the gym. Working every day," Wiseman said.