Golden State Warriors big man James Wiseman is closing in on a return to action. The former No. 2 overall pick was recently cleared to practice and could be back playing by Thanksgiving week, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.
The Warriors leave for a four-game road trip on Sunday, and Wiseman will not be with the team. Instead, he’ll stay behind in order to continue individual work and possibly scrimmage with the Warriors’ G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors. Once the Warriors get back in town, that’s when we could see Wiseman back on the court.
“It’s been an incremental approach, so there hasn’t been that “ah-ha” moment where he just took this leap,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “We’ve been purposely deliberate the last couple of months and just slowly ramping things up. He’s moving well and he’s engaged in a lot of drill work in practice and doing 5-on-0 stuff. He’s getting a lot of work in and he’s feeling good.”
Late last season, Wiseman went up for a dunk against the Houston Rockets and landed awkwardly. He was soon diagnosed with a torn meniscus that required surgery, and brought his frustrating rookie campaign to a close. Due to various injuries, Wiseman played 39 games, averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds, while shooting 51.9 percent from the field. And though he had impressive moments, it was clear he needs time to develop.
With his return now just around the corner, it’s going to be interesting to see how the Warriors try to balance Wiseman’s development with their push for a top seed in the Western Conference. They’re off to a league-best 10-1 start without him, and were also better without him on the floor last season when they made a playoff push down the stretch.
While he’s clearly a talented player, his timeline doesn’t mesh with the Warriors’ current core of Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. The front office has, at least publicly, been adamant that they don’t plan on trading Wiseman. But that could change if he still isn’t ready to play regular rotation minutes this season, and they have a chance to add someone who could boost their title chances.
In any case this is going to be a story to watch over the next few months.