FRANCISCO… James Wiseman looked like a young man who knew he was on his way to the principal’s office.
The 19-year-old golden state Warriors played the best game of their short career by beating the San Antonio Spurs 121-99 on Wednesday night But at 7:44 late in the third quarter, veteran Warriors forward Draymond Green threw a pass to Wiseman – and the young rookie wasn’t where Green wanted to be. Spurman DeMar DeRozan intercepted the ball and slid it across the floor to Dejounte Murray for an easy layup, while Green waved his arms at Wiseman and shouted a message.
Seconds after another Warriors personnel change, golden state head coach Steve Kerr called a timeout and Wiseman went to the bench to have Green give him a verbal lesson he knew was coming. As he did several times during the season, Mr. Green began to tell the rookie exactly what he had done wrong as the two men sat side by side on folding chairs on the sides of the floor.
Sage must have smiled when asked after the game if he felt comfortable enough to answer Green.
I still have to earn respect, Wiseman said in a video conference with reporters. So I’m not going to say anything else about it. All I’m saying is good, and I’ll get better at it. So that’s what I do. I’m not saying anything else.
On Wednesday, Sage let his game speak for itself by scoring 20 points in 25 minutes, grabbing six rebounds and providing four assists. More importantly, he stayed out of the messy issues that characterized much of the first month of his professional career. Aside from a couple of late fouls when the game was already decided, Wiseman was able to turn things around by learning from his earlier mistakes.
Just show him the tape and practice what you learn on defense, Kerr said. And you throw it and then remind him that no matter how many times he looks at it or is told, it’s just a rehearsal. That’s what I told him after the last game: There will only be good and bad games, the important thing is to keep working and learning.
I’m very happy that he played well tonight.
Kerr has repeatedly praised the youngster for his ability to learn and mentor, two traits that many young players struggle with early in their careers. It’s that kind of mental awareness that has set Weiseman apart from the Warriors’ team since he was caught with the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft That’s why his teammates were so impressed with his performance after his worst game of the season on Monday against the Los Angeles Lakers in which he committed five fouls and five turnovers in just 13 minutes.
Jeff Chiu/AP Photo
I’m just patient in my mind, Wiseman explains. I need to slow down here. I make sure to read the ground and be patient in my movements. Just be more specific when it comes to basketball.
Sage noted that he feels more comfortable on the floor because of his consistent study of film, but it was Green who really helped him figure out how to stay in the game and avoid trouble.
Listening to Draymond, talking to Draymond, Wiseman said. He gives me little tips, different things about how to be smart. How I stand, because I’m 7-to-1, so I don’t have to jump. So when I jump, I jump second. But the same goes for the use of verticality, which I’m mastering more and more.
The growth of the Wiseman game gives the organization hope for the future. On the night the team put on its Oakland jerseys for the first time as a tribute to the past, Wiseman offered another glimpse of what the years ahead could be if he continues to improve his game.
The confidence he consistently exudes in the face of adversity has caught the attention of the Warriors’ most important player.
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Warriors superstar Stephen Curry answered the question of how Wiseman’s confidence compares to other young players he has played with in the past. It’s going to be great, and it’s going to take time and work.
Obviously, playing for us and being the second pick in the draft comes with some expectation, so … In terms of our organization, I haven’t met many of those blues, but with you, you show up every day, you’re consistent, you go to work, you’re not afraid of the moment, and you ask all the right questions and try to understand. We can’t really pretend, and we see it in him, and it’s just the journey now and every day, trying to take a step in the right direction.