Watching the NBA Finals has given Warriors coach Steve Kerr hope that James Wiseman can develop similar to Suns center Deandre Ayton, writes Drew Shiller of NBC Sports. In a radio interview this week, Kerr compared his rookie big man to Ayton, who is one of the cornerstones on a title contender in his third year in the league.
“I’m just so inspired by what Ayton has been able to do. And I think there’s no reason why James can’t follow that same path,” Kerr said. “(The Suns) really streamlined his game. You think back a couple years ago and he was kind of all over the map. You could tell how gifted he was, but you weren’t exactly sure what he was. They’ve figured it out. I’m watching Ayton quite a bit and I’m thinking a lot about how we can use James and simplify the game and make him really effective for us next year.”
Wiseman was the second player taken in last year’s draft, but his adjustment to the NBA didn’t go smoothly. He averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per night, but only played 39 games because of injuries before undergoing season-ending meniscus surgery in April. Kerr believes patience is the key to Wiseman’s ultimate success.
“I know everybody is impatient (and) wants him to be great now. It just doesn’t work that way,” he said. “But if we continue to develop him and we’re having a great season — that’s the whole plan, that’s the whole idea. Over the long haul, we’re gonna develop James and we feel like he’s gonna be our starting center at some point for a long, long time.”
There’s more on the Warriors:
- Golden State hosted several top prospects this week, but the team still prefers to trade the No. 7 and 14 picks for a veteran who can contribute right away, sources tell Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. The Warriors brought in Davion Mitchell for a private workout on Thursday, and Letourneau hears that the front office is split on the Baylor guard, with some believing he can provide immediate help and others concerned that he’s too old at nearly 23 to justify a top 10 pick.
- There’s speculation that Jonathan Kuminga could fall to No. 7, which James Ham of NBC Sports calls “a dream come true” for the Warriors in his latest mock draft. Although the 18-year-old is a raw talent, he could be groomed as a replacement for free agent forward Kelly Oubre or he may be an attractive target for teams that want to trade up.
- NBA.com tracks the Warriors’ connections to the Olympic tournament, which will start next weekend. Draymond Green of Team USA and Nico Mannion of Italy will both be playing, while Kerr is an assistant for the U.S. and Mike Brown is the head coach of Nigeria.