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Warriors preseason opener: James Wiseman looks fantastic in simplified role, teasing big possibilities ahead

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The defending champion Golden State Warriors began the 2022–23 preseason with a 97–87 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday in Japan. The points box didn’t look attractive to three Golden State stars, with Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Pool teaming up to score 3 of 25.

It’s not ideal for fans who’ve come to see the big names, but the Warriors don’t care about those numbers. What they care about is how James Wiseman looks every second he’s on the court, and on Friday he really looked good.

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Wiseman finished with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting. To be honest, that’s a misleading description. Wiseman didn’t do anything real shooting. Five of his eight buckets were dunks. Everything else was top notch except for his last deuce, a nice little hook from about six feet high. Take a look.

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This is by design. During his freshman year, Wiseman looked like a college freshman trying to blend in with a senior thinker. He just wasn’t ready to handle all of Golden State’s impromptu, constantly moving action, and while he has the ability to hit jumpers, he seemed to put too much emphasis on proving he could make shots that defensemen would happily miss.

It is easier. Let the guy be an athlete. This pick-and-roll with Stephen Curry teases the possibilities of this duo. Steve Kerr, as we know, is not a pick-and-roll coach, but to be honest, Curry never had an upright athlete of Wiseman’s caliber at his disposal. It’s not something the defense will be able to solve easily as several defenders are forced to stay with Curry as the top finisher.

Kevon Looney is now the starting center and he’s great. He knows the Warriors system inside and out. He knows exactly how to play Curry, anticipating passes, sweeps and DHOs when Curry puts defenders out of action. It’s too much for Wiseman to digest at this stage in his career.

He will be spending a lot of time with Curry and I suspect Kerr will be playing more with Curry in those moments so the whole attack will not be to frame Curry by making Wiseman think more than Kerr would like. With Curry on the ball, Wiseman might just be an athlete running around the rim and cutting through the open space that Curry’s gravity naturally provides. This will slow things down and in turn actually speed up Wiseman.

Let’s not make too much out of one pre-season game, but based on first impressions of the hopefully new and improved Wiseman, it was a good one.



Source: www.cbssports.com

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