Young Warriors Big Man fades after dominant debut

James Wiseman

James Wiseman watches during a Golden State Warriors Summer League game.

After a nearly 18-month absence from an NBA court, Golden State Warriors big man James Wiseman showed little sign of rust as the team kicked off the preseason for their title defense.

Wiseman showed off his athleticism and made a number of key plays as the Warriors defeated the Washington Wizards to open the preseason schedule on Sept. 30. Wiseman had slowly worked his way back from a knee injury that ended his rookie season and an extended rehab erased his sophomore year and gave the team an encouraging sign on Friday.

Wiseman leads the way in Warriors Win

Wiseman had not played an NBA game since April 10, 2021, when he tore a meniscus in his knee and began a long and grueling rehab. Though he was able to step out and play strong in the Summer League, Friday’s game in Japan marked the first time he faced a full NBA roster since his rookie year.

Wiseman looked like the athletic star the Warriors had hoped they would win in 2020 with the No. 2 overall pick. In just 24 minutes of play, Wiseman led the team with 20 points in 8 of 11 shooting, including five dunks.

After the game, Wiseman said he tried to keep it simple in his first NBA game in front of fans. Wiseman’s rookie season was played under much tighter COVID-19 restrictions, including empty arenas.

“I just went out and played my game. I didn’t try to do anything that was outside of my limits. Keep the game simple and be yourself,” Wiseman said via NBC Sports Bay area.

Wiseman is ready to contribute this season

Wiseman’s rookie season had mixed results as he showed some high-level potential while struggling to fit into the team’s complicated offensive movement. Before the start of this season, Wiseman said he wanted to become a better all-around player and play both big and small games.

“Really just another goal,” Wiseman said on the team’s media day via NBC Sports Bay area. “Just to put really hard screens. Probably working through the system in terms of working on my DHOs and other things like that, like running games.

“I’m really working on little things that will translate into the NBA that will lead to playing with the real guys.”

Wiseman could have more help off the pitch with his development this season. Veteran Andre Iguodala, who has served as a mentor to both Wiseman and the team’s other rising young stars, announced last week that he will be returning to the Warriors for his 19th NBA season. Iguodala was undecided about retiring but said he feels well enough to return for what he said is a final season.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Iguodala will continue to work closely with the team’s young players in the coming season.

“We have so many young people” said Kerr. “They need coaching, they need mentoring. And Andre is the best there is. And he loves working with the younger ones.” Young Warriors Big Man fades after dominant debut

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