So far, so good for James Wiseman off the bench.
The 19-year-old didn't start for the first time in his NBA career Monday in the Warriors' win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he did score 13 points (on 4-of-5 shooting from the field), grab four rebounds and block two shots in just under 16 minutes of action.
Wiseman was the Warriors' leading scorer among the reserves, and he tied for the bench lead in blocks. Only Eric Paschall grabbed more rebounds than the rookie, who's embracing his new role.
"I look at it as learning experience, and it's not nothin' bad at all," Wiseman said Monday in a postgame video conference with reporters. "[The coaches are] just trying to figure out the rotations and stuff, but everything's coming together and I'm most definitely learning over there more [than when I started]. It's really helping for my development as a basketball player, but as a person I'm not really worried about that because once I get in the game [I'm] able to impact it."
Coach Steve Kerr replaced Wiseman with veteran Kevon Looney in the starting lineup Monday, noting that Looney, Draymond Green, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins and Steph Curry formed the Warriors' best five-man unit. They got off to a great start Monday night, as Golden State jumped out to a 26-11 lead before Kerr brought on Wiseman for Looney as part of the Warriors' first substitutions of the night.
Wiseman said he had a better expectation of the Timberwolves' schemes on both ends and a better understanding of his necessary defensive positioning after watching Looney start. He felt "even more prepared" by the time he stepped on the court for the first time with 5:21 remaining in the first quarter.
"I'm able to see more," Wiseman said of starting from the bench. "I'm able to analyze more. I'm able to break down the game in my head and be more prepared out there before I get in the game."
Wiseman will, in all likelihood, come off the bench again Wednesday in the Warriors' rematch with the Timberwolves, as well as beyond that. If Monday was any indication, he's prepared to make the most of his new role.