Getting James Wiseman back on the floor and re-engaged in the regular season would've been ideal heading into the postseason.
It sounds like we’ll have to wait until next season to see the return of the 2020 second overall pick in James Wiseman, as the Golden State Warriors announced on Friday afternoon that the big man is will not play this season. Wiseman has been rehabbing from a torn meniscus he suffered in April of last season, and he will continue in that process in the Bay Area.
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Earlier this month, Wiseman was assigned to the Warriors’ G League affiliate in Santa Cruz in order to continue his rehab. After he appeared in three games, and averaged 17.3 points and 9.7 rebounds, the Warriors recalled the second-year big man, but his return to the floor hit yet another snag. The young center experienced right knee swelling, according to Anthony Slater and Marcus Thompson of The Athletic, which led to the team shutting down his rehab process. With just a couple of weeks of the regular season remaining, it appears as though the Warriors are being cautious with Wiseman’s return to ensure he’s healthy in the long term.
Even if Wiseman was healthy, it wasn’t expected that he would receive many minutes on a Golden State team with a wealth of depth. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in March that it’s “highly unlikely” that Wiseman would be a big part of Golden State’s rotation, especially in the playoffs. Knowing that information, it makes sense why the Warriors are slowing Wiseman’s return and giving him even more time to ensure he’s prepared for the 2022-23 season.
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With Wiseman out for the season, that means we’ll see Draymond Green — who recently returned from a lengthy back injury — as a small-ball center for the Warriors in the playoffs, as we’ve seen in the past. The minutes Green doesn’t play will likely be absorbed by Kevon Looney.
Getting Wiseman back on the floor and re-engaged in the regular season would’ve been ideal heading into the postseason, but given Golden State’s immediate championship upside, Wiseman is far likelier to earn a bigger role on next season’s roster. Looney will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, so if Wiseman can get healthy and prove that he is ready to replace him, he could position himself for significant playing time next season.
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