James Wiseman has had a disappointing, yet encouraging rookie season

NBA Golden State Warriors James Wiseman (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Golden State Warriors James Wiseman (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) /

James Wiseman had some growing pains during his rookie season, but enough encouraging signs too. 

There’s a good chance that James Wiseman‘s rookie season with the Golden State Warriors is over. Assuming that is the case, after suffering a meniscus injury, this is a good time to look back at the year that was for the highly-touted prospect out of Memphis.

Wiseman was the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and while wasn’t coming in with outrageous expectations, some of the hype that came with him was due to the Warriors selecting him over one LaMelo Ball, who many believed could be a generational talent.

Either way, there was no avenue for Wiseman to enter the league ab simply be OK. Wiseman had to deliver and had to echo what the Warriors clearly saw in him as a modern big.

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And at times during his rookie season, I believe he showed that. During his first two games of the season, Wiseman looked every bit as good as advertised. With Draymond Green sidelined to begin the season, Wiseman had to take perhaps a bigger role than many initially believed he would have.

In his first two games, Wiseman averaged 18.5 points, seven rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game on 50 percent shooting from the field and an absurd 80 percent shooting from 3-point range. The Warriors lost each of those two games, but Wiseman had shown enough promise to give some encouraging signs to the team.

Though, as many would expect, Wiseman came back to earth (sort to say) over the next few games.

As you would expect from a rookie big, Wiseman has his ups and downs through the next few months. He truly had some rookie lows and highs. After suffering an injury that will likely cost him the rest of his rookie season, Wiseman will likely finish the year by averaging 12 points, six rebounds, and one block per game on 52 percent shooting from the field and 32 percent shooting from 3-point range.

He was brought along slowly this season and only averaged 21 minutes per game. One area that has become clear that he needs to improve is on the defensive end of the floor. Wiseman has one of the lowest DRPM in the league, at -201. DRPM measures a player’s impact on team defense. He’s also ranked 80th among centers in RPM (Real Plus-Minus), at -4.10.

That’s where, hopefully, playing behind and with Draymond Green will help in the long-term, but you could make an argument that his lack of defensive prowess is what held him back during his rookie season.

There’s room to grow for James Wiseman this summer

Nevertheless, the raw athleticism and potential was clear during his rookie season. It may have never been perfect, but James Wiseman did show some encouraging signs despite how many will look back at categorize his rookie season as disappointing. Especially with how good the player taken a pick after him performed during his rookie season.

At this point, one of the biggest goals (from the outside looking in) would be getting to a place or level where the Warriors aren’t regretting not taking LaMelo Ball with the second pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. However, with how both rookie seasons have wound up, it’s difficult to see how James Wiseman can get to that level (but that says more about Ball than Wiseman).

Either way, overall, it was a solid rookie season for Wiseman. Especially considering that he essentially made the jump from high school to the NBA (after only playing a few games at Memphis).

Both the Warriors and Wiseman are now in a pace where they can grow with each other. Wiseman has some strides to make on both ends of the floor, but he’s has the potential and athleticsim to do so.

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If James Wiseman can make those strides over what will be somewhat of a normal offseason (hopefully), then there should be no doubt that he can be a very good and valuable player for the Golden State Warriors for years to come.