James Wiseman had an angry, constructive on-court reaction to his three-quarters-long benching by coach Steve Kerr on Thursday night, but according to Kerr, Wiseman may have sat for the entire game if the Warriors hadn’t been losing so badly to the Clippers.
Here’s part of what Kerr said on the matter on Friday, per Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle.
If that’s the case, at least the blowout had at one positive effect. Wiseman looked like a man possessed when he finally did get in the game in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting and seven rebounds in 12 full minutes.
That’s the Wiseman the Warriors need now and in the future. It won’t be easy, with superstar guard Stephen Curry and forward Draymond Green leading the way. Those two play at a level almost all their own, and Kerr has to make sure his stars are satisfied with the team’s focus on winning now, while simultaneously giving the young inexperienced Wiseman time on the floor to make mistakes and learn.
In fact, so far, the Warriors are a worse team when Wiseman is on the court, especially with the starters. Kerr planned to get Wiseman some time with young guards Nico Mannion and Jordan Poole on Thursday, so Wiseman’s missed practice on Wednesday miffed Kerr more than it perhaps would have in another circumstance.
The three did get some fourth-quarter garbage time together against the Clippers. So it all worked out, see? Well, not really. It was a disaster of a night.
But at the end of the day, at least Wiseman played and played well. That has to start happening regularly. As if Thursday night wasn’t a large enough clue, the rest of this season will be much ado about the rookie center, as the franchise tries to thread the needle between its growing young players and win-hungry veterans.
(Photo credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)