Warriors

Kerr praises Wiseman despite Warriors' many 'insane' asks

Warriors

The Warriors are just three games into the season, but rookie James Wiseman has been the obvious choice when it comes to exciting storylines. 

Despite only playing three games in his collegiate season at the University of Memphis, the No. 2 overall pick has dazzled so far and earned some impressive kudos from coach Steve Kerr.

"The center is basically the middle linebacker," Kerr said to Bay Area reporters on Monday. "You’ve got to be talking, you’ve got to be calling out coverages.

"Now imagine doing that while playing three college games, then not playing at all for over a year, and then not having training camp. It’s insane. What we’re asking James to do is insane. He’s handling it beautifully.”

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Wiseman did not play in any of the Warriors preseason games, but suited up for Golden State's Opening Night tip-off against the Brooklyn Nets as the team's starting center. In doing so, the 19-year-old became the youngest Warrior to start in an opening game since the 1970-71 season. Wiseman could've hardly asked for a better debut -- in 24 minutes, the rookie put up 19 points, six boards and a pair of steals.

He hasn't slowed down since then. Over the Warriors' first three games, Wiseman has averaged 14.7 points and has even showcased some 3-point range, going 5-of-6 from beyond the arc.

 
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What's been most impressive to Kerr (and teammates alike) however, has been Wiseman's mentality and all-around feel for the game.

"He’s a willing learner," Kerr said. "He doesn’t take coaching personally -- he absorbs it and accepts it because he understands it’s all part of the process."

Before the season, Kerr explained the early expectation for Wiseman was to play between 15 and 20 minutes per night. He's exceeded that, averaging 24 minutes per game. Part of that is to make up for the defensive loss of Draymond Green, who is still out with a foot injury. But the Warriors also lost center Marquese Chriss for the season with a broken leg on Sunday, meaning Wiseman and Kevon Looney will continue to see an influx of minutes.

So far, that doesn't seem like that will be too much of a challenge for Wiseman, who is instead shaping up to be a main centerpiece for the Warriors' offense this year. He'll look to continue that trend Tuesday as Golden State aims to defeat the Detroit Pistons and take home their second straight win.