James Wiseman’s place in Steve Kerr’s system remains a puzzle Warriors fans have been trying to solve for three seasons now, but no one’s as confused as he is.
The 7-foot-1 center has played in just 19 of Golden State’s 51 games so far, averaging 6.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 12.7 minutes.
After Kerr had a one-on-one chat with his big man and teammates like Andrew Wiggins have tried to help keep Wiseman’s head up, Warriors general manager Bob Myers weighed in on the situation.
“Do I want good people to succeed that I interact with every day – that do the right thing and are good people? Absolutely,” Myers said on 95.7 The Game’s “Steiny & Guru” on Wednesday. “But it’s a cutthroat deal. It’s not like you can just do that. I’d put you on the team, Guru. You seem like a good guy, but you got to be able to play.
“For James especially, unfortunately, the times that he maybe could’ve played, he was injured. That’s been tough. But the path of any young player isn’t mostly clean. There are obstacles to it.”
After recovering from a torn right meniscus that sidelined him for the end of the 2021-22 season, Dub Nation and the rest of the NBA world anticipated and hoped this would be the year we’d get a big season from the former No. 2 overall pick.
He was a steady presence for the Dubs in the first 10 games of the season, averaging 7.3 points on 60.4 percent shooting and 4.0 rebounds in 13.8 minutes.
Wiseman scored a career-high 30 points on an impressive 12-of-14 shooting against the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 21, but then sprained his ankle the following week during a 3-on-3 scrimmage.
He hasn't touched the floor for the Warriors since, missing the last 15 games. He’s played 10 games this season with the Warriors G-League affiliate in Santa Cruz.
After bouncing between the NBA and G League, Wiseman has been left feeling helpless and lost.
“James will, at some point, get an opportunity," Myers assured. "He’s got to be ready for that. We’re a [Kevon] Looney ankle turn or Draymond [Green injury away]. We only have JaMychal and James really. Especially the way we’re playing now.
"We’re not playing Draymond and Looney much together. So, you can see the exposure there if something was to happen. I don’t want anything to happen to anybody, but it could easily be a situation where James is thrust into it. He’s got to be ready to play.”
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While Myers said he, too, "feels bad" for players, whether it's Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga or Moses Moody -- whose playing minutes all have fluctuated this season -- he remains confident that things will work themselves out.
Patience, reps and health -- Wiseman's time will come.