After missing the last week of Warriors team activities due to the NBA's health and safety protocols, James Wiseman is making his return to the court Tuesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers and is also returning to the starting lineup.
Even before being held out of the Warriors' last three games, Wiseman was coming off the bench. The last time he started was Jan. 23 against the Utah Jazz. That's when Steve Kerr opted to insert Kevon Looney into the starting lineup instead of the 19-year-old rookie.
"Earlier in the season when I made the switch to Loon I felt like that was the right thing to do competitively and rotationally," Kerr said in his pregame press conference. "And I think we did pretty well. Our defense got a lot better, rotations improved. But this feels right now. This feels like the right time to do this. It will be great for James to get a really good stretch here over the last 29 games."
Kerr said he can foresee himself starting Wiseman for the rest of the season which, as he said, is 29 more games.
Wiseman's first year in the NBA has been anything but smooth, not necessarily because of his play, but because of outside events which have kept him off the court.
Before the season started, he tested positive for COVID-19, forcing him to miss training camp. In February he missed 12 games with a left wrist sprain. And last week he, along with Looney, was held out for contact tracing.
As the season reaches its final push, Kerr sees now as the best time for Wiseman to find any substantial rhythm and on-court development the young big man has been unable to accomplish thus far.
"We just feel like after 40-plus gams, wherever we are, James has come along really well," Kerr said. "He's picked up a lot of the concepts, it's really important now, especially given the absences ... he needs to be out there."