The Golden State Warriors have been pretty amazing this season, led by superstar guard Stephen Curry. But that doesn’t mean Curry is satisfied — and that goes for the rest of the team, too.
Despite the squad’s lofty position in the NBA standings, they want to play more amazing basketball and win Golden State’s first championship since the 2017-18 campaign. To reach their goal, the Warriors need a bit more size up front, even considering their penchant for playing small-ball.
Luckily for Golden State, second-year center James Wiseman is finally nearing a return to action, ramping up his activity with no reported setbacks thus far. He’s been absent for nearly a full calendar year, strengthening his right knee after undergoing surgery to repair a meniscus tear suffered last season.
And Curry says Wiseman has some amazing things in store for the Warriors and the NBA at large. Curry saw first hand during a short, post-All-Star break scrimmage in the team’s lead-up to an easy win over Portland on Thursday, its first game after the break.
Curry said that while Wiseman’s practice session with the big club was on the sloppy side — in general — by the Warriors’ standards, Wiseman shone bright and displayed skills that can make a difference down the stretch.
“… he had a lot of good energy. He got that put-back dunk. He’s just chomping at the bit to get to the next step of his return to play schedule.
“He’s a beast when you look at him on the floor, especially with the rest of our team who is, quote-unquote, undersized. He does stand out and can do some amazing things. It’s just about him getting comfortable again and getting those reps.”–Stephen CurrySan Francisco Chronicle
Plus, Wiseman got more practice in with the Santa Cruz Warriors on Friday and looked, we have to assume, just as beastly and amazing.
It’s news enough that Wiseman made it through yet another scrimmage and practice without a setback to his knee, but Curry’s comments should allow Warriors fans to start thinking big, pun intended, about Wiseman.
But first, the BASH must correct Curry on something. The accurate term is “champing” at the bit, not “chomping.” The saying originates from the equipment that goes into a horse’s mouth during horse racing. Hey, even The Golden Child is held accountable on this sports website.
Okay, back to business — a little size will go a long way for Golden State, especially in the playoffs. While the team is at its best with forward Draymond Green at center (his injury is a different story), the Warriors will encounter some elite frontcourt size during its planned march to the NBA Finals. Wiseman’s “beast” skills will come in handy during those situations.
It’s not that Wiseman can go toe-to-toe with the best centers in the NBA at this point. He’s still very young and inexperienced. But with the Warriors’ free-flowing, motion offense, Wiseman’s vertical-spacing and athleticism are invaluable as a change of pace, just as ex-Warriors center JaVale McGee provided during Golden State’s back-to-back titles in the latter half of the last decade.
So when Curry says “beast,” think an areal beast of sorts, flying high for put-back dunks, rebounds, and ally-opp slams.
Plus, Curry runs a mean pick-and-roll with athletic big men. That could be yet another amazing change of pace to the Warriors’ conventional style of play.
I’ve been all-in on Wiseman since Golden State selected him No. 2 overall (over All-Star guard LaMelo Ball), and I’m still bullish. He was the right pick for the Warriors, and Curry — along with the rest of the squad — will benefit soon as long as Wiseman can stay healthy, which it appears he’s on track to do.
Or maybe you’re still upset about the Warriors missing out on Ball? I’d understand but disagree. Hit the comments below and let me know what’s up.