SAN FRANCISCO – James Wiseman was doing some solo work with resistance bands and a weighted ball in the hallway at the bottom level of FedExForum in Memphis as his teammates warmed up for Game 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Grizzlies.
He longs to be out there on the court with the Warriors playing in the high-energy atmosphere of the playoffs against the team from his home state of Tennessee. Instead, Wiseman changes into street clothes before the game and stays mainly behind the curtains as he looks ahead to next season.
“It kind of ticked me off a little bit because I wanted to play against Memphis in my hometown,” Wiseman said Monday before Game 4 at Chase Center with a trip already booked to head back to Memphis for Game 5 Wednesday. “But it is what it is, it’s life.”
That idiomatic phrase, “it is what it is,” is the mantra Wiseman has embraced as he pushes forward and works to get himself ready to be back on the basketball court.
It’s been 13 months since Wiseman, 21, underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee last April. A setback earlier this season forced him to undergo a second procedure in December.
While it appeared Wiseman was on track to make his season debut in March, the 7-foot center experienced again swelling in his surgically repaired knee. The Warriors decided to play the long game with their 2020 lottery pick, effectively shutting him down for the season at the end of March, much to the disappointment of Wiseman.
“To be honest, I was pissed because I wanted to play,” he said. “I’m just going to take it one day at a time. God’s got me, and I don’t got to worry about anything.”
What the Warriors have in Wiseman, the No. 2 pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, remains a mystery. He’s played in only 45 games total over the last three seasons with Memphis, the Warriors and the team’s G League affiliate. He struggled in NBA games last season as a rookie trying to keep up with the Warriors’ read-and-react offense.
He had mixed performances in his only games this season, with the Santa Cruz Warriors. In three G League games, Wiseman averaged 17.3 points and 9.7 rebounds. It’s still unclear how he’ll adjust to the speed and physicality of the NBA when he returns and the toll this long recovery may have on his mental health.
The adversity Wiseman has experienced over the last three years has “made him stronger,” he said.
“It just depends on how you respond. I could easily give up and be like, ‘Nah, I don’t want to do this.’ But that’s not in my DNA,” he said. “I’m going to keep working and keep persevering because I’ve got my faith. I got God on my side, so I’m not worried about anything.”
Coach Steve Kerr has been impressed by Wiseman’s maturity and ability to stay positive, despite everything the 21-year-old has gone through, …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News
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