There are six rookies ESPN draft expert Mike Schmitz will be watching closely this season. The first name he listed Thursday morning is a player Warriors fans still are waiting to see in a game.
Schmitz joins Warriors fans in being eager to see exactly what center James Wiseman can do early in his NBA career.
"Will Wiseman show flashes that he is indeed the Warriors' center of the future, like his impressive tools suggest?" Schmitz wrote. "He'll get his fair share of lobs, putbacks and highlight blocks, while being in an ideal development situation to hone in on a few elite strengths and expand his game from there. But Wiseman hasn't played a competitive 5-on-5 game since Nov. 12, 2019; and like most young bigs, he still has quite a bit of room to grow as a pick-and-roll defender and a decision-maker.
"Is it too much to ask of a 19-year-old with three games of collegiate experience to play a key role as a starter on a playoff contender in the Western Conference?"
All of Schmitz's questions with Wiseman are fair and reasonable. He has played just three games in the last year-plus. The 19-year-old also wasn't able to practice with the Warriors early in training camp. Wiseman went through his first Warriors scrimmage on Wednesday but already has been ruled out for Thursday's preseason finale against the Kings.
At the same time, there's a reason Wiseman was the top high school recruit in the Class of 2019. He's extremely athletic for his size and should be able to use his length at 7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-6 wingspan right away. Coaches and players have praised his energy early in practices.
Even at the expense of being compared to a puppy.
Kerr said he will play Wiseman in short bursts to start his career, but also hasn't ruled out the possibility of the rookie starting on opening night next week against the Brooklyn Nets. Whether it be as a starter or coming off the bench, Wiseman will make mistakes and bring highlights. That's part of the learning curve for any rookie.
One thing is certain, though: The Warriors believe in Wiseman, and they're ready for the No. 2 pick in the draft to eventually answer all of Schmitz and everyone else's questions.