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James Wiseman showing ‘growth and maturity’ as Warriors return nears

James Wiseman might not be physically back on the court with the Warriors, but he’s never been so mentally locked in.

The 7-foot center has been making steady progress in his rehab from a torn meniscus, but some have grown impatient as fans haven’t seen the former first-rounder in action since April 10, 2021.

Still, Warriors coach Steve Kerr is confident in the 20-year-old and his future in the Bay. 

“I’ve seen growth and maturity just talking to him every day,” Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Grant Liffmann in the latest Dubs Talk Podcast. “Just sitting in film sessions with him, seeing him go through practice over the last couple weeks with our guys. He’s grown so much.”

Golden State assigned Wiseman to its G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, the team announced on Friday. 

This comes after the Warriors recently ramped up Wiseman’s activities and advanced him to 5-on-5 scrimmaging. 

But the Warriors have been careful with the big man’s rehab, showing they won’t rush his recovery to get him back on the floor. 

“I think in the long run, I really believe all this adversity that he will have faced early on in his career is going to help him,” Kerr told Liffmann. “Every player has a difficult journey, even the guys who were the No. 2 pick in the draft. I think James will benefit from his first year and a half where frankly he’s taken a lot of heat. And I think it’s really unfair because he’s barely had a chance to develop, he hasn’t played in a Summer League game yet. He hasn’t had a full training camp yet. 

 

“We threw him out there for 40 games last year and if you look at it objectively, he showed that he can be an incredible talent. Now was he ready for that? Probably not. But when you just look at how he moves, how he shoots the ball, his skills, how big and powerful he is, there’s no questioning his potential.” 

The Warriors, with the second-best record in the league, have been doing just fine without their 7-foot center so far this season. 

But with both Wiseman and veteran forward Draymond Green out, the Dubs could certainly use the help during the final stretch of the regular season before the playoffs begin. 

RELATED: Steph sees ‘beast’ in Wiseman during Warriors scrimmage

Truthfully, no one knows what Wiseman will look like back on the hardwood. But if his teammates and Kerr are correct with their faith in the big man, his highly-anticipated return could be just what the doctor ordered. 

“What separates things for me is just getting to know him as a human being,” Kerr said. “I’m betting on James Wiseman all day long. I’m a believer. I just think this guy’s going to be a star, it’s just a matter of time and health. Knock on wood, I believe that’s all coming.”

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