Warriors

What Wiseman learned from struggles in loss vs. Clippers

Warriors
James Wiseman, Warriors

Wednesday's 108-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers served as a lesson learned for the Warriors, especially for rookie James Wiseman.

Despite a fourth-quarter surge courtesy of Golden State's second unit, the Warriors fell flat in the final minutes and couldn't contain Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers. Wiseman, who has been impressive just eight games into his NBA career, noticeably struggled for the first time this season.

The No. 2 overall pick elaborated on those struggles, explaining his frustrations with himself and his play.

"There was a lot of confusion on the offensive end," he said. "I was trying to wait on Steph [Curry] to come off the screen, but he didn't come. I was like, should I make a move, or should I wait on Steph? That's how I kept getting those turnovers.

"It was kind of confusing to me, so I got really frustrated," he added.

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Wiseman's task Wednesday was no small one. The 19-year-old was matched up against Clippers big man Serge Ibaka, who was far from warm in welcoming the rookie to the league. Wiseman consistently was outmuscled and outplayed by the 11-year veteran, resulting in forced shots, multiple turnovers and visible frustration. On one play in particular, the Warriors' play call took too long to develop. Ibaka stripped Wiseman at the top of the key and the Clippers broke away for a bucket on the other end. Wiseman didn't hustle back on defense, and coach Steve Kerr removed him from the game.

 

Kerr was wearing a microphone in the game, and was heard telling his young center, "Don't let your frustration impact your effort."

Wiseman echoed that advice.

"I didn’t run back," he said. "That was my fault."

Wiseman would finish the game with 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting, adding four boards and three turnovers. It was the first game in his young career where he looked overmatched.

Still, it served as a motivator for Wiseman, who described himself as a "perfectionist."

"I call myself a perfectionist because if I mess up one mistake that I know I can make, I get very, very angry," he explained. "That’s just because I want to be the best version of myself."

Wiseman acknowledged he's working on balancing a fine line, and trying to not be "too much of a perfectionist" and take himself out of the game.

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Even after a down game, Kerr remains both impressed and optimistic in what he sees from his starting center.

"You can tell that he’s not afraid to admit that things are going really fast for him right now," Kerr said to Bay Area reporters on Thursday. "I like that admission, I like that vulnerability because if you fake it, you’re never really going to get anywhere.

"This is a process that he's going to have to live with all year long, being up and down," Kerr added. "You can't really become consistent in this league in a couple of weeks. ... It's an important perspective for all of us to have, and James to have. It's going to take time."

Although he's just two weeks into his NBA career, Wiseman has already demonstrated an obvious hunger to improve and to not make the same mistake twice. Luckily for him, he'll get a shot at redemption -- and another showdown with Ibaka -- when the Warriors take on the Clippers on Friday for a rematch at Chase Center.