The NBA career of James Wiseman hasn't gone the way he or the Warriors had hoped through two seasons. But both sides are hoping he has turned the corner and can become a force in the rotation next season.
After missing the entire 2021-22 NBA campaign following surgery to repair a torn right meniscus and subsequent setbacks, Wiseman's first order of business is possibly playing in Summer League games in July.
Last Monday, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that there was "optimism" Wiseman would play in Summer League, and the 21-year-old center addressed that report while talking to the media on Saturday.
"I'll most likely play in Summer League but we're just trying to get everything situated," Wiseman said. "It's kind of up-in-the-air but that's like a 90 percent chance."
Wiseman hasn't played in an NBA game since April 10, 2021, and there was hope that he would be able to return at some point during the 2021-22 season to provide front court depth for the Warriors.
In March, the Warriors sent Wiseman to their G League affiliate in Santa Cruz and he played in three games where he averaged 17.3 points and 9.7 rebounds. But he experienced swelling in his knee, causing Golden State to shut him down for the remainder of the season.
The public hadn't seen much of Wiseman over the last few months, but earlier in June as the Warriors were playing in the NBA Finals, he started going through drills after practice while reporters were watching. Wiseman's jump-shoot looked good in the brief glimpses the team gave.
"I've been feeling great," Wiseman said Saturday. "I'm running now. I'm doing a lot of up-and-down stuff. I'm really doing a lot of regular stuff now. Just trying to get in shape and make sure everything is good in terms of my knee."
The Warriors are hopeful that Wiseman will be a big factor during the 2022-23 season. Kevon Looney is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and with a looming extension for Jordan Poole, Golden State might have to make a tough decision on Looney. Wiseman's availability might make letting Looney go more palatable.
But first, Wiseman needs to prove he's healthy and a nice showing in the Summer League could go a long way to easing concerns in the Warriors' front office.