As James Wiseman continues to get acclimated to the NBA game, the Warriors rookie center will have ups and downs. He'll succeed and then falter when seeing new looks or being tasked with guarding some of the best big men in the NBA.
Tuesday night was one of those nights, as Wiseman notched just eight points on 4-of-11 shooting while recording five fouls and logging a minus-11 in the Warriors' 104-95 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Tuesday night was a big test, as Wiseman faced Pacers star Domantas Sabonis, who has been one of the surprises of the early NBA season. Sabonis scored 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting and pulled down 14 rebounds at Chase Center. This is the first game in a four-game stretch that will see Wiseman face some of the NBA's top centers.
While it was a difficult night for Wiseman, coach Steve Kerr still saw the experience as a positive for the 19-year-old and admits every night will be "a challenge" for Wiseman early on in his NBA career.
"I thought James did well," Kerr told reporters after the game of Wiseman's performance. "Every night is a good night for James even though it's going to be frustrating for him at times. He was frustrated with his fourth foul that he picked up late in the first half. But it's a great experience to go through it and to understand how you have to play with fouls, how you have to play against a team playing zone as a big what are your responsibilities.
"This is a real challenge for James and for our team to piece all of this together on the fly with teams throwing a lot of different defenses at us. There's a lot going on for James for somebody who has only been in the league for a few weeks. Great experience. It can be frustrating at times, but he's going to get better as a result."
Through 11 games, Wiseman has shown a little bit of everything. He's been solid on the defensive end, flashed his athleticism with coast-to-coast dunks and knocked down some long-range jumpers. But Wiseman only played in three collegiate games and didn't have the benefits of a full offseason or Summer League due to COVID-19. Every flash of brilliance will be accompanied by a learning moment. That's life in the NBA for rookies.
The Warriors exit the homestand at 6-5 and still trying to find their footing. There is no doubt that Draymond Green's return has helped breathe life into the Warriors' defense, and his familiarity with Steph Curry has helped the two-time MVP get going on the offensive end.
We're one-seventh of the way through the season and the Warriors are nowhere near what they will be in the spring. Wiseman's continued growth will be a critical factor in determining the Warriors' place in the Western Conference and how far they can go should they make the playoffs.