‘Can’t Force-Feed Him’ – Warriors’ Steve Kerr Compares James Wiseman’s Progression to Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett

Published 04/06/2021, 8:30 AM EDT
Jan 20, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman (33) high fives forward Draymond Green (23) as a time out is called by the San Antonio Spurs during the third quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


James Wiseman continues to develop. The rookie from Memphis has had an inconsistent season with the Warriors so far. Wiseman was immediately slotted into the starting lineup upon arrival, but hasn’t seen a major increase in his minutes. However, head coach Steve Kerr is not worried, even bringing up the examples of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett to illustrate why.

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Steve Kerr compares Wiseman to Kobe and KG

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr spoke about James Wiseman recently, noting that the Warriors cannot rush his development. It isn’t as clear-cut as giving him more minutes to play. Furthermore, he compared Wiseman’s progress to that of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, both of whom never got the full experience of college basketball.

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Jan 10, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman (33) dunks during the first quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

“We can’t rush it, we can’t force-feed him. It’s just going to take some time. That’s really par for the course for players who have been in James’ shoes in the past. Highly touted prospects who didn’t have a college experience, whether it’s Kobe (Bryant) or Kevin Garnett, or guys like that. It was the same thing.” 

James Wiseman will not be rushed

Steve Kerr added that there were doubts about Kobe’s potential and development as well. In fact, the Mamba had a few disappointing performances in the playoffs his rookie year. However, he went on to be one of the greatest players of all time. Kerr noted that Wiseman’s potential shouldn’t be judged off this season, and the Warriors will have to continue to work with him to get him to improve.

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“After Kobe’s couple of airballs in the playoffs against Utah in his rookie year, I don’t know if we could have said ‘that guy is going to be a top-five player all-time’. So, all this stuff, it just takes time and reps. We just have to be patient and keep working with James every day, and he’s going to get better as he goes.”

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Can James Wiseman become one of the best big men in the NBA? He clearly has all the tools to do it, and his numbers are solid so far. His potential is one of the main reasons he went to the Warriors. However, he will need more time to develop his game. But if the Warriors surround him with the right pieces, Wiseman can be a star.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1173 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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