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Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman impresses in 2022 NBA summer league debut


11:27 PM ET

  • Kendra AndrewsESPN

LAS VEGAS — As Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga began to attack the ring, he hooked the ball over his head to seek out a cutting James Wiseman. In a single motion, Wiseman caught the ball in mid-air and threw down a dunk.

It was the primary possession of the Warriors’ summer league game against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday and was Wiseman’s first bucket since March when he played in a trio of G League games.

One minute after his alley-oop dunk, he knocked down his lone 3-pointer of the night.

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“It felt good,” Wiseman said. “There are quite a lot of things for me to work on, I mean, my timing was pretty off. But this was my first game. I rejoiced on the market.”

Before his short stint within the G League, Wiseman hadn’t played since April 2021, when he tore his right meniscus.

Wiseman played 4 four-minute spurts firstly of every quarter in his summer league debut — an 86-85 win over the Spurs. He checked back in for the ultimate three minutes of the sport — something Wiseman said he was greater than comfortable with. In his 19 minutes, Wiseman finished with 11 points on 6-of-7 shooting, two rebounds and two blocks.

In Wiseman’s eyes, the areas where his timing was off were on setting screens and reading patterns.

“For him to have the ability to come back out and play in a summer league game like today with good composure and playing on the rim, blocking some shots, he just looked like a extremely good basketball player,” Warriors summer league coach Jama Mahlalela said. “That first outing is all we wanted, and we told him to come back out, rejoice, benefit from the game and let it come to him.”

There have been glimpses of Wiseman’s athleticism throughout the night — highlighted by his dunk and blocks. He ran the ground well and wasn’t afraid to play physically.

“It was physical. That is an enormous adjustment,” Wiseman said. “I have been out, so I have been doing quite a lot of individual workouts. So for me to only get that pushing, that physical contact, I’m proud to be on the market.”

His return provided the Warriors with something they have been missing to date during summer league: real size and presence within the paint. And it’s something the Golden State Warriors could use more of.

But, the Warriors want him to make use of his size more on the boards. As soon because the game ended, Wiseman walked over to Mahlalela and told him he knows he must grab greater than just two rebounds, as he did against the Spurs.

“[It’s really about] staying attentive, staying aggressive and just going to get it,” Wiseman said. “The ball really wasn’t coming my way that much, but I used to be attempting to get as much as I can.”

The Warriors are emphasizing a concentrate on the basics for Wiseman through training camp. Irrespective of what, those can be an enormous a part of his role with Golden State in the course of the regular season.

But now that they’ve actually seen Wiseman play, the Warriors can begin to plan out how they need to use the 7-foot center.

“Until he’s playing, we do not really know what we’ve got. You do not know what you are working with,” Mahlalela told ESPN. “I hope that by the primary week of August, we’ve got a far more clear plan of what he must work on through August and training camp.”

Mahlalela also thinks they are going to learn a few of that by the tip of summer league, depending on what number of more games Wiseman plays.

The initial plan is to have Wiseman play in Tuesday’s game against the Boston Celtics, together with Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. Monday’s practice can be a light-weight workday for Wiseman — which the Warriors try to do after every “heavy day.”

How far more Wiseman plays after that’s up within the air. But at this moment, just having one game under Wiseman’s belt is a very powerful thing for Golden State.

“Walking into the locker room after the sport and all of the players cheering for him I feel he can type of, ‘Ahhh, I can breathe again,'” Mahlalela told ESPN. “Every conversation I even have with him is, I’m so pleased with you but now the true work begins.”

Wiseman responded with: “Good, coach.”

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