Warriors Owner Compares James Wiseman’s Slow Start to Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett

Published 06/24/2021, 3:09 PM EDT
Mar 4, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman (right) drives to the basket against Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric in the first half at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The Golden State Warriors drafted James Wiseman last season with their #2 overall pick. Some would say it was a gamble because he had played only three college basketball games. But the Warriors kept their faith in his potential and drafted him.

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Unfortunately, injury issues continued to plague him in the NBA, and he played only 39 games. When he was on the court, he showed promise at times, but one could see that he is still raw and needs more time. As a result, impatient and reactionary fans started discussing trades for him.

But Warriors owner Joe Lacob has quashed these discussions. In fact, he also compared Wiseman’s slow start to his career to Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, who also needed a few years to settle in.

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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

He said, “I would have liked to see him play more games at the end. He would have gotten better. But big men at 19 years old, take a look at history. Kevin Garnett, I can name you all kinds of players.

“If you use your eyes and look at what you saw overall — look at some of the potential. Because when you draft 19-year-olds, you’re drafting on potential. Nobody’s coming in and dominating at 19 years old. Nobody. Even Kobe Bryant took until Year 3 and he wasn’t even a center. These expectations are too high.”

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Similar to Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, can James Wiseman dominate if the Warriors give him time?

Both Bryant and Garnett needed a few seasons for them to find their feet. Kobe started as a sixth man for the Lakers and struggled at the start.

But he just worked harder and eventually became one of the greatest players of all time. Similarly, KG was also a fringe starter when he first arrived in Minnesota. But he kept delivering when he got the chance and eventually became one of the best power forwards of all-time.

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SAN ANTONIO – MAY 7: (FILE PHOTO) Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers bites his jersey in Game two of the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs during the 2003 NBA Playoffs at SBC Center on May 7, 2003 in San Antonio, Texas. Bryant was released on bail by the Eagle County Sheriff’s office in Colorado July 6, 2003 after posting a $25,000 bond on a felony count of sexual assault. (Photo by: Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Can Wiseman reach similar levels? It’s too early to tell.

But there is no doubt about the hard work he is putting in. Wiseman arrived in Golden State as a paint scorer. But he worked on his jump shot in the off-season, and the results were seen when he played. If he continues to put in the effort, he is destined for greatness.

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Aaron Mathew

1664 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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