Golden State Warriors

The Athletic: Warriors C James Wiseman has one physical weakness to watch

Fans and observers of the Golden State Warriors are seemingly unanimous in at least one train of thought: rookie James Wiseman is a future NBA superstar, worthy of an immediate minutes increase and a place alongside Stephen Curry and Draymond Green as vital to the team’s immediate and future success.

Wiseman has displayed an abundance of talent in just three NBA games–the same amount of games he played while in college. The 7-foot-1 center’s touch from 3-point range is extremely impressive, his athleticism appears off the charts and his rebounding and defense, while certainly a work in progress, has been better than expected.

As for this 3-point shooting, The Athletic’s John Hollinger says he expected such prowess in year five for Wiseman, so he’s way ahead of schedule in that department. Hollinger took a close look at the 19-year-old center in a recent article, and he broke Wiseman’s game all the way down to one concern regarding Wiseman’s physical tools: his hands.

Here’s part of what Hollinger wrote about Wiseman:

But physically, I see only one real limitation, which is his hands. You notice how he went up with two hands to dunk in that first clip? There’s a common thread there. While he did have a nice one-handed jam in the Chicago game, Wiseman usually goes up with two hands, presumably because he doesn’t have the type of giant mitts that can cup it like a Nerf ball and ram it home. Even with two hands, a couple of his dunks have rattled in.

In particular, this would be something that would hurt him as a lob threat — the ability to grab the ball in the air with one hand and flush it home, a la DeAndre Jordan. It’s not fatal — the two-handed dunk is still legal last time I checked — but it does limit his lob threat some.

Of equal or greater importance, those same hands also give him some trouble on more basic catches, especially contested post-up entries, and on rebounds in traffic. That’s another reason his Rebound Rate is perhaps not what you’d expect (10.4 percent) give his size and how he moves.

It’s an interesting point, and it was seconded in this NBA Draft scouting report. Through three NBA games, there have been minor displays of bad handles. But overall, Wiseman has performed well on lob passes, with multiple dunks, though they were two-handed. Hollinger mentions Wiseman’s one-handed dunk but he didn’t mention that it was also with the rookie’s non-shooting hand, which is an encouraging sign when talking Wiseman’s ability around the bucket.

But this is such a minor concern, it’s fantastic news onto itself: it appears there are very few holes in Wiseman’s game. But it’s still a factor to monitor, and it’s a good reminder that while Wiseman looks incredible thus far, he has a long way to go before he’s crowned Warriors royalty.

(Photo credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

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