Why James Wiseman could change the franchise

James Wiseman’s contract and performance could define the future of the Golden State Warriors

Neither he nor James Wiseman’s NBA career started Warriors of the Golden State could have hoped, but the Warriors’ lottery positioning in 2020 due to star player injuries allowed them to exercise some patience with him as he developed behind the scenes and the team continued to win.

The Athletic’s Anthony Slater opened up an interesting dialogue about the young center in a roundtable which looked at players and coaches who had the most to prove (Subscription required) in 2022-23. Slater notes the sizeable size of Wiseman’s contract versus the uncertainty of his development and the boom-or-bust potential he possesses at this point in his career.

Wiseman, a second pick overall, only played 39 games and missed all of last season. It’s unfair to call him a bust at this point, but it’s not safe to say he’s ready to be a starting center on a competitive team.

In preparation for that season, Wiseman ran with the Summer League crew, averaging over 10 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. It’s cautioned against drawing any significant conclusions from Summer League play, but Wiseman looked confident and fluid in the pick-and-roll game and was capable on either end of the floor on the inside, snagging rebounds and blocking shots.

These highlights will have Warriors fans mouth-watering at the thought of him playing alongside a guard like Curry, who is even more sticky on defense and worries about leaving him open on the edge. But as good as things are looking, it’s worth keeping an eye on Wiseman’s performance this season.

James Wiseman’s upside potential and contract provide a crucial turning point

One way or another, James Wiseman will greatly influence the future of the Warriors. Slater pointed out that he’s owed a sizable paycheck over the next two seasons, which is important for any team, but especially for the Warriors, who already have a massive luxury tax bill to pay.

The Warriors have had no problem spending money to win titles and it has paid off with four titles in the last decade. Steph Curry, who makes a big part of that payroll, is probably worth even more than he paid for.

But Wiseman is a lopsided part of the timeline. Most teams with developing players with Wiseman traits develop teams with low payrolls, often flirting with salary floornot far above the salary cap.

One could view Wiseman as a luxury for the Warriors. Developing young talent beneath the layer of existing Superstars and Championship winners could allow Golden State to seamlessly move from Dynasty 1.0 to Dynasty 2.0 without the need for an in-between rebuild, a rarity in pro sports.

Another perspective might see Wiseman as a sizeable ball-and-chain. The Warriors, financially constrained by their already producing championship core, might see the Wiseman award as inappropriate given they are already in contention. Title-winning teams rarely have patience for situations like Wiseman’s, but selling him is unlikely to yield the returns hoped for as he has yet to prove himself in the NBA.

A third and possibly worst-case scenario is that Wiseman leaves Golden State stuck midway between all-in on competition and all-in on development, turning their dynasty from a nearly unbeatable state to a midfield team, the worst place to get stuck in the NBA.

Whatever the outcome of Wiseman’s career, it’s clear he will have a major impact on how the team moves forward, whether directly or indirectly.

https://fansided.com/2022/08/29/warriors-james-wiseman-franchise-altering/ Why James Wiseman could change the franchise

John Verrall

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