In the 2020 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors selected James Wiseman with the No. 2 overall pick. Then, this seemed to be the best fit for the Warriors due to their need for a big man and the recent Achilles injury of Klay Thompson. Unfortunately, Wiseman endured a potential season-ending injury on Saturday night in a matchup against the Houston Rockets where it was later determined that the rookie suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee. After putting much of their faith in their first-round draft pick and hoping to develop him into a star player, Wiseman’s recent injury may create some clarity for the Warriors’ immediate future, here’s why.
What This Means For the Warriors
The team had two goals this season, to make the playoffs and to shape their young roster into something that could benefit the team in the long run. However, on Sunday when it was learned that the team’s future star’s season would be likely over, it solidified the idea of the organization relying on building its players for the rest of the season.
Before Wiseman’s injury, head coach Steve Kerr did not have full confidence in the 20-year-old big man just yet. Kerr believed that Wiseman was still not ready to play big minutes nor be in the starting lineup just yet. The organization wanted to see Wiseman learn and be sculpted into a more dominant player before they placed a lot of pressure on the rookie. He is viewed as an important part of the team’s future.
Now that Wiseman is injured, the team does not have his development as a priority anymore. With the team’s depleted roster, their sole focus can be solely acquiring wins. By building chemistry between the veterans of the team and the younger players, the team can more so focus on how they can harmoniously achieve wins without relying on Steph Curry carrying the load offensively.
Although realistically, at this point it seems that the team should focus on their offseason and the upcoming season when Thompson will hopefully return more than achieving what seems like a lofty goal in winning the championship. The Warriors will be under a lot of pressure in the upcoming months as they still try to make it into the playoffs, but also how they approach making the right moves for their future. The team still has Minnesota’s first-round pick and has freed up assets to potentially make a blockbuster move. How the team handles this pressure will surely be highly anticipated.
What Wiseman Means to the Team
Only playing three games at Memphis University, Wiseman was still a skilled big that the Warriors felt that they could take and sculpt into a star athlete. However, being that the rookie hadn’t played a full season of basketball in college, he went into the NBA with some struggles and inconsistencies.
It was already bad enough that the Warriors had learned right before the 2020 NBA Draft that their star player Thompson would be out for the entirety of the season. As a result of this, the team didn’t have that much time to plan for how they would combat this. It was only a few hours that they had to make their decision.
If the injury would have happened any earlier, the organization would have had more time to determine what move they would make in light of Thompson’s absence. It is noted that the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year, LaMelo Ball was still on the board when the Warriors made their selection. Surely, if the Warriors had more time they might have selected differently, but for now, James Wiseman is the team’s star rookie.
Now as the playoffs quickly approach, it appears that Wiseman’s season has abruptly come to an end after his injury on Saturday night. He is currently sitting at an average of 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 0.7 assists per game.
The Warriors are now sitting at 25-28 for the season which lands them at the 10th seed in the Western Conference. With only a little over a month left of the regular season, the team finds themselves in a difficult situation without one of their only true centers left healthy. This leaves Kevon Looney and Draymond Green in a small-ball lineup.
READ NEXT: Warriors’ Steph Curry Reacts to Rookie’s Potential Season-Ending Injury