After a rough night in LA, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was doing his best to put a positive spin on the evening, which was highlighted (or low-lighted?) by James Wiseman’s time in Kerr’s doghouse.
The star rookie missed Wednesday night’s practice because he forgot to take an NBA-mandated Covid-19 test over the All-Star break. Kerr responded by benching Wiseman until the game was completely out of hand in the fourth quarter. Golden State lead by three points at one point in the first half but lost in humiliating fashion, 130-104.
But back to that positive spin from the coach. Here’s part of what he said postgame, courtesy of The Athletic’s Anthony Slater.
There we go, coach. This is all normal!
Well, neither Draymond Green nor Stephen Curry had a high-profile benching as Wiseman did (to my recollection, please correct me if I’m wrong), though each had their struggles.
Curry, now famously, was benched in favor of journeyman Acie Law by former coach Don Nelson at times. As a second round pick playing behind All-Star forward David Lee, Green had to fight just to get off the bench.
Here’s a comment from Curry on the matter courtesy of Brady Klopfer of SB Nation.
As the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, James Wiseman is clearly expected to rise to superstar status, or something close to it. His reaction after his benching was encouraging, so that bodes well for his chances. He played with an edge and racked up 14 points and seven rebounds in just 12 fourth-quarter minutes.
Here are a couple of his postgame quotes, per Warriors beat writers Connor Letourneau and Wes Goldberg.
He was mad?? Who was he mad at??
Oh, alright, cool. Not mad at coach Kerr. Just mad at himself. Wiseman also said postgame that he has a “great relationship” with his coach, despite the discipline.
And that’s good, because there’s a lot of work to do in Golden State. How will their current superstars mesh with their chosen future star, Wiseman? The Warriors are trying to thread the needle by playing winning basketball while exposing their young players, (Wiseman along with guard Jordan Pool and Nico Mannion) to the realities of the NBA.
It’s all made for entertaining basketball this year, but the losers of four straight games for the first time this season, the Warriors are running out of lesson-teaching time. We’ll see what lineups Kerr cooks up on Sunday against the heavily-favored Jazz.
(Photo credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)