Golden State Warriors rookie James Wiseman has had a turbulent start to his NBA career, but the recently turned 20-year-old isn’t letting the criticism get to him.
The center spoke out this week about his play and the struggles he has encountered in making the transition to the NBA, saying he believes that critics are unfairly taking aim at him. There have been a number of reports about strife within the organization about Wiseman’s playing time and development, with suggestions that head coach Steve Kerr is not as keen on giving him starting minutes when the team is still making a playoff push.
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Wiseman Speaks Out
After a hitch following the All-Star game in which he missed a mandated COVID-19 test and was benched for three quarters of the team’s first game out of the break, Wiseman has become a fixture of the Warriors’ starting lineup. He has seen up-and-down play during that time, struggling at times to adjust to Kerr’s highly energetic motion offense but seeing steady improvement in a number of areas.
Still, media coverage of his season has often taken a more critical angle, something that Wiseman has noticed. He spoke out this week, saying that he believes there is an ulterior motive in some of the negative coverage.
“I know that negativity sells. I really don’t worry about that,” Wiseman said, via Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I’ve been through a lot in my life. So I don’t worry about people talking about what I need to do because I know what I need to do. I know my weaknesses and what I can do to get better.”
Kerr has spoken out about Wiseman’s development, noting that the team has adjusted to help get him more involved. That means more screening and pick and rolls build a stronger on-court connection with Steph Curry.
Steve Kerr gives a sarcastic answer about the nightly James Wiseman “report card” coverage, then an actual answer: “That’s what we’re trying to lock in on with James. Simplifying things. Setting a lot of ball screens.” Mentioned his “good connection” with Jordan Poole. pic.twitter.com/5Pn9u7PEjp
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 7, 2021
Wiseman’s Role Creating Tensions
There have been past reports that the team’s approach to Wiseman’s season has led to some internal tensions. Some have reportedly pushed for a longer learning curve for him, giving more minutes and allowing him to play through mistakes, though Kerr has reportedly wanted to focus more on winning this season.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said in a past episode of “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” Podcast that after Wiseman’s benching for the missed COVID-19 test, many wanted to see him taking on a larger role with the team.
“There is a source of organizational tension on the way that they’ve used Wiseman this year. There’s some people in the organization that really want them to put James Wiseman out there more. Not necessarily with the benching and all that, that’s a separate matter. But just putting him out there more. Letting him play through mistakes, letting him play more minutes, heavier minutes like the other two rookies even though the Warriors are trying to contend for the playoffs.”
Wiseman has remained in the starting lineup since then, even as the team hovered around the edge of the playoff picture. At 24-27, the Warriors are in 10th place in the Western Conference, holding on the last spot for the play-in tournament.
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