After missing the final week of Warriors team activities due to NBA health and safety protocols, James Wiseman will return to the court Tuesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers and will also return to the starting lineup.
Even before being left out of the Warriors’ last three games, Wiseman was coming off the bench. The last time he started was January 23 against the Utah Jazz. That’s when Steve Kerr opted to insert Kevon Looney into the starting lineup in place of the 19-year-old rookie.
“Earlier in the season, when I switched to Loon, I felt it was the right thing to do on a competitive, rotational basis,” Kerr said in his pregame press conference. “And I think we did quite well. Our defense improved a lot, rotations improved. But this feels like right now. It feels like the right time to do this. It will be great for James to do a good stretch here for the last 29 games.” .
Kerr said he can envision himself as Wiseman’s starter for the rest of the season, which, as he said, is 29 more games.
Wiseman’s first year in the NBA has been anything but quiet, not necessarily because of his game, but because of outside events that have kept him off the court.
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Before the season began, he tested positive for COVID-19, forcing him to miss training camp. In February he missed 12 games with a sprained left wrist. And last week, he, along with Looney, was held to track contacts.
As the season reaches its final push, Kerr sees now as the best time for Wiseman to find substantial rhythm and on-court development that the young big man has been unable to achieve thus far.
“We just feel like after more than 40 games, wherever we are, James has done really well,” Kerr said. “He’s learned a lot of the concepts, it’s really important now, especially given the absences … he needs to be there.”
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