Golden State Warriors

Andre Iguodala sends James Wiseman highlights of Hakeem Olajuwon, other great NBA centers

The Golden State Warriors have a lot of youth, and they have a lot of veterans. But there’s no clash. It’s all love.

That’s because the vets are doing their best to ensure that the Warriors’ young prospects are developing into championship-caliber players. Perhaps nobody has documented that fact more than Sports Illustrated’s Howard Beck.

Here’s a portion of his feature-length article on the Warriors’ plan to contend now and develop prospects for the future at the same time. In this snippet, Beck details how forward Andre Iguodala motivates second-year center James Wiseman.

Every so often, Wiseman’s phone will buzz with the ghosts of Big Men Past: Hakeem Olajuwon, Arvydas Sabonis, Chris Webber, Rik Smits, Vlade Divac. They arrive in grainy YouTube clips, via text messages from Andre Iguodala.

The 37-year-old Iguodala, a key member of the Warriors’ three title runs and MVP of the 2015 Finals, returned to the club this season after two years away. If his athleticism has perhaps waned a bit, his wisdom and influence have not. Every text carries a pointed lesson.

Sports Illustrated

First of all, if you’ve seen all of those big men play, you get some street cred from me personally. But can you imagine Wiseman looking at those “grainy” highlights on his phone? It’s a credit to him that he takes the ancient history lesson and can learn from it.

But what choice does he have, really? As Beck points out, Iguodala has done it all in the NBA. Wiseman is likely honored to receive such attention from the Warriors’ sage.

Which classic center listed above would you like to like Wiseman to emulate the most? Since Wiseman, according to Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, can do everything on the court, he can probably take pieces of all those classic skill sets and implement them into his game. Ultimately, Wiseman is skilled enough to perhaps make his own mold for future NBA big men.

In the short term, however, Wiseman must carve out a smaller role on the Warriors’ current championship-caliber team. Mostly, he simply has to play up to his 7-foot-tall frame. Golden State lacks size and is counting on Wiseman to fill that need, almost assuredly in limited minutes.

But in the not-so-distant future, Wiseman will be a major player on the Warriors, if all goes according to plan, that is. And Iguodala is doing his part to make this mixture of experience and youth work to perfection in Golden State.

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