While James Wiseman fell out of Steve Kerr's rotation this season, the Warriors coach made it clear Monday that he was in favor of the team's draft pick nearly three years ago.
A day after the Warriors' four-team trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks was made official following a three-day delay, Kerr finally was able to speak publicly about Wiseman's time with the team and how things ended.
"It was hard on a personal level because of our affection for James and the talent level," Kerr told reporters before the Warriors' game against the Washington Wizards at Chase Center. "I was all-in on taking James when we did. I was part of the group and loved the ability, loved everything we saw. I think you can't always foresee circumstances.
"Remember, at the time, we had the worst record in the league. Klay [Thompson] had just torn his Achilles. We didn't really know where we were as a team. Frankly, we didn't know we would win a championship a year and a half later."
The Warriors picked Wiseman No. 2 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft after finishing the 2019-20 season 15-50, the worst in the NBA.
Steph Curry missed a majority of the season with a hand injury, Thompson was in the midst of a 31-month injury absence and Kevin Durant had left in free agency the previous summer. The Warriors didn't know what was next for the organization, so they took the best player available who fit the needs of the roster at the time.
And while Wiseman showed flashes of his potential during his rookie season, a torn meniscus derailed his progress and ultimately cost him his entire second season.
Without Wiseman, the Warriors managed to win the NBA championship last season, and this season, there just wasn't playing time for him on a team that expected to compete for another title now.
Wiseman played in just 21 games for the Warriors this year, averaging 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds in 12.5 minutes. Since Dec. 30, he had played in just two of the Warriors' 21 games. There even was an extended G League stint that didn't garner the results anyone was hoping for.
So, with the NBA trade deadline last Thursday, the Warriors finally decided it was time to move on from Wiseman and allow him to attempt to blossom somewhere else, sending him to the Pistons, who have the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Detroit can give Wiseman the time he needs on the court and allow him to grow.
For Kerr and the Warriors, it was time to move on and make a move that helps the team now rather than wait for Wiseman to figure things out.
"I think the important thing, and I was a GM once, not a very good one, but I've been in [Bob Myers'] shoes," Kerr said. "The important thing is, in this league and I think in all sports, you have to move forward. You can't look back, you have to move forward and make whatever moves are necessary to allow you to succeed in the present state of the team and going forward. And so that was the determination as an organization."
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While Wiseman should play right away for the Pistons, the Warriors will have to wait for Gary Payton II to help them as he will miss at least the next month, and likely more time, as he rehabs from his adductor injury.
Golden State hopes Payton can be ready to help them once the NBA playoffs roll around.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Warriors hope Wiseman now has the opportunity to develop into the player he's capable of being.