Warriors coach Steve Kerr is looking at the bigger picture.
Sure, James Wiseman fouled out in just 18 minutes on Wednesday night. But he also scored 11 points, knocked down his only 3-point attempt and grabbed five rebounds in a gritty 111-107 win over the Indiana Pacers.
After the game, Kerr said the short outing will ultimately be remembered as a positive one for Wiseman, in his second contest back from a sprained left wrist.
“It was up and down, but everything’s great for James right now,” Kerr said in a video conference with reporters. “Every experience matters. It’s tough coming back from an absence. The second game back, to me, is always the harder one.
“The first one back after an absence, you have the adrenaline, you’re playing, you just feel great. The second one, the adrenaline goes away and it’s always a little more difficult.”
The Warriors wrapped up the two-game road trip with back-to-back wins, coinciding with the return of Wiseman and Kevon Looney to the frontcourt. Golden State needed its size against Indiana’s talented big men. While Damontas Sabonis was widely perceived as an All-Star snub, Myles Turner leads the NBA with 3.4 blocked shots per game.
Wiseman eventually fouled out with 8:57 remaining on a careless loose ball foul with the Warriors leading 89-86, when he pushed Sabonis in the back trying to get a rebound. It marked the second time he fouled out in his career, with the first coming Dec. 29 against the Detroit Pistons.
Still, Wiseman’s production and bounce encouraged Kerr. Check out this sequence in the third quarter, when the rookie showed off his perimeter defense skills before running the floor for a fast-break dunk.
“I think tonight he had some good plays,” Kerr said. “You see how fluid and athletic he is. Just by being out on the floor he impacts the game. He’s learning every day and all these experiences are really good for him.”
Wiseman is just 22 games into his career, but with highlights like that, you can see why Kerr sounds giddy when discussing the No. 2 pick’s future. Good thing Dub Nation is busy bestowing a nickname upon the rookie.