James Wiseman’s G League assignment focused on building the fundamentals

James Wiseman’s G League assignment focused on building the fundamentals

As Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green sit out the second night of a back-to-back for the second time this season when the Warriors play the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on Monday night, one name remains in the starting lineup.

Kevon Looney will be the starting center for the Warriors, alongside Donte DiVincenzo, Jordan Poole, Anthony Lamb and Jonathan Kuminga. The Warriors’ 18th game of the season marks Looney’s 128th consecutive regular season game. Only Phoenix Suns wing Mikal Bridges has a longer active streak at 324 games.

For a second, though, it looked like Looney’s streak might be coming to an end. He was listed as questionable Monday morning with a bruised left hand and wasn’t upgraded to probable until 90 minutes before kickoff.

Whether Looney played or not, the Warriors weren’t going to carry center James Wiseman from his G League assignment.

“No, not for tonight,” Steve Kerr told reporters in New Orleans. “We felt it was very important for him to get a really good stretch at Santa Cruz.”

Kerr then revealed what he thinks is Wiseman’s biggest part with the Santa Cruz Warriors right now instead of Golden State. They are also not representative of games.

“Practice is the biggest thing,” Kerr said. “When you get one-on-one attention like the guys do in the G League, I think it’s easier to progress more than the stops and starts that happen during the NBA season when you’re not in the rotation.”

Wiseman was sent to the G League on November 15, almost a week ago. Kerr announced the team’s decision the night before after Wiseman went through his third consecutive DNP (Did Not Play).

The 21-year-old has been on the bench for all four quarters in six games this season. He was averaging just 13.4 minutes per game, and hadn’t attempted more than three shots in a game since Nov. 1. Wiseman’s lifestyle changes in Santa Cruz, but so do his opportunities on the court in every aspect.

He played 25 minutes as the starting center, scoring 19 points with 11 rebounds. Wiseman was efficient from the field, going 7-for-12 overall and 1-for-2 from 3-point range. But he was also whistled for five fouls and his minus-13 in plus-minus was the lowest among Santa Cruz starters in a 111-91 loss.

“I think it’s all part of the natural evolution of a young player who doesn’t have a lot of experience, who came into the league when the pandemic started and then missed a year and a half with an injury,” Kerr said . he said of Wiseman’s journey so far. ‚ÄúThat’s it, that’s the bottom line.

“Every player needs a foundation, but when you’ve got a guy who was lost all this time with circumstances and hasn’t been able to really build that foundation, you’ve got to try to do the right thing to help him move forward. It’s what we’re thinking.”

RELATED: Warriors sending Wiseman to the G League is the right decision for both parties

The Warriors are building Wiseman’s foundation in the early stages of his third year as a pro, hoping the long-term success will far outweigh the short-term headaches. His path from the start of his short college career to his early years in the NBA has been bombarded with obstacles. There will still be bumps, but everyone’s fingers are crossed because the road will start to be much smoother.

His stop with Santa Cruz will not be a wave of health and goodbye. Kerr already said he expects Wiseman to be in the G League for about 10 straight days. They are in no rush for their latest version to increase.

An hour after the Warriors begin their contest with the Pelicans, Wiseman will be courtside at the Maverik Center playing his own road game against the Salt Lake City Stars. He has his past performance to build on. Playing freely and finding confidence is key for the former draft pick.

Over time, the goal must be to correct other areas that will also contribute to winning with the Warriors.

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