All season long, speculation surrounding the Golden State Warriors has suggested that the return of guard Klay Thompson and center James Wiseman will provide a boost to the team for a playoff push. But could Wiseman be in line for a stop in Santa Cruz before he can make waves in the NBA?
I hadn’t considered that Wiseman could be sent to the G-League’s Santa Cruz Warriors when he returns from injury. The Warriors need to implement Wiseman as soon as possible. They lack size down low, and the NBA is newly refurbished with a plethora of big men who Golden State will have trouble matching up with.
But Ryan McDonough of Audacity Sports thinks it’s an option. And while on the air at 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, he said that using the G-League to prepare Wiseman for his role on the Warriors is the likeliest strategy regarding the second-year center.
McDonough refers to how Wiseman was thrust into a starting role last season. It was a mini-disaster, with Wiseman compiling a negative plus/minus rating. He played just three games of college basketball at Memphis, and it showed.
But I think Wiseman could again skip a stint with the Santa Cruz Warriors. Coach Steve Kerr has said that he plans to use Wiseman in a smaller role, depending on C Kevon Looney to start. I believe Wiseman is simply too good to be in Santa Cruz, honestly. He doesn’t need an abundance of playing time to improve. Rather, he needs to spend time with the big club and learn to play with superstar guard Stephen Curry within Kerr’s motion offense.
A few games in Santa Cruz could work, however. If Wiseman doesn’t get as much playing time upon his return, it could be a good option. But the Warriors need his size as soon as possible. It’s great for Kerr and the front office to have the Santa Cruz option in their back pocket, but that’s where it should stay for the time being.
Nobody knows whether Wiseman is ready for the NBA right now better than those inside the organization, however, so we’ll see how it plays out. Either way, the goal is for Wiseman to be a contributor this season as the Warriors battle for playoff positioning in preparation for a championship run. And I fully expect that to happen, G-League or not.