As the Warriors turn the page from their monumental NBA Finals win against the Celtics, much of the spotlight will shift to center James Wiseman.
Can he finally hit the floor after missing an entire season to injury? The former No. 2 overall pick has the ability to help the Warriors tremendously as they look for more titles. But his rookie season, back in 2020-21, ended early with a meniscus tear and his availability is still a big question mark.
His health will come into focus during the upcoming NBA Summer League, and if his body can hold up, Wiseman has learned a lot by watching Warriors center Kevon Loony, as Looney thrived in the Warriors’ motion-heavy offense by doing the “simple stuff.”
“His desire to do the simple stuff, like rebounding, especially being a big,” Wiseman told reporters. “He’s not doing the complicated stuff, he’s just playing his role.”
If Wiseman’s knee is healed and ready for the rigors of an NBA season, his injury could end up being a net positive for the Warriors. That’s how important Wiseman’s “simple” revelation could potentially be.
When Wiseman entered the NBA, he was, naturally, eager to showcase his wide array of abilities. He’s an exceptionally talented big man that can be a foundation piece for the Warriors in the future. But that’s not what the Warriors need right now. Golden State needs a center to do the simple things as Looney does, not an all-world, do-everything big man, as Wiseman can potentially be down the line.
In fact, the Warriors played worse with Wiseman on the floor during his rookie campaign. It was clear that he was trying to do too much.
But Wiseman has seen how Looney plays within himself and simply operates in the open space that superstars Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green consistently create.
I love Looney, but often, as he plays with simple effectiveness, I imagine Wiseman out there in his place. Wiseman has elite size and skill and with as much open space as the Warriors create on the court, he can bring the franchise to another level, just by playing as Looney does.
In the future, as the Warriors’ Big 3 gets up there in age, Wiseman can expand his game. His timeline on the Warriors is ideally a long one, and it appears he finally realizes that his initial contribution to the franchise will be simple, but potentially carry a huge positive impact.
Now, all eyes are on his health as Summer League play starts on the Fourth of July weekend with the California Classic at Chase Center.