Golden State Warriors

Warriors’ mistake with James Wiseman could benefit Jonathan Kuminga

When the Warriors drafted forward Jonathan Kuminga in the NBA Draft on Thursday, few compared him to Golden State’s first-round pick last year, center James Wiseman.

Each player was drafted in the top 10, but while the Warriors expected Wiseman to contribute to the team right away, even placing him into the starting lineup on Day 1, that’s not the plan with Kuminga. Could it be because Golden State realized how foolish their plan for Wiseman turned out to be?

In a word, yes. According to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau, the Warriors have some regret at expecting so much from Wiseman so quickly.

Like Kuminga, Wiseman was a raw prospect with supreme upside. But instead of bringing him along slowly, the Warriors had him in the starting lineup on opening night after only one practice.

This proved detrimental for Wiseman, who wasn’t ready to be a key part of a winning team. Many in the Warriors’ organization now wish they had taken the pressure off him from Day 1.

Connor Letourneau/San Francisco Chronicle

That’s right: the then 19-year-old Wiseman, who played all of three games while at the University of Memphis, took the NBA floor as a starter after one practice. (He only practiced once due to issues with the pandemic.)

Looking back, how crazy was that?

Too crazy, apparently. At least the Warriors realize their error in grooming Wiseman. In fact, just before the Big Dub tore his MCL, I believe coach Steve Kerr had finally understood that a limited role for Wiseman was best. He thrived for a frustratingly short period of time before suffering his season-ending injury.

Ideally for Golden State, a limited role for Kuminga — along with Wiseman and the No. 14 overall pick in this year’s draft, guard Moses Moody — can help the team win immediately with superstar G Stephen Curry, F Draymond Green, and when he returns from injury, G Klay Thompson.

After all, each of those NBA champions were brought along fairly slowly, right? Now, they can carry the weight and allow the youth on the team to blossom, especially after the Warriors acquire one or two veteran free agents to bring the roster together into a complete unit.

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