James Wiseman sits behind Warriors’ Kevon Looney ‘healthy development status’

Wiseman sitting behind Loon a ‘healthy growth situation’ appeared first on NBC Sports Bayarea

James Wiseman has been in the spotlight for the Warriors over the summer, playing four games in Las Vegas and showing signs of being selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

However, when the 2022-23 season begins, Kevon Looney will be named to the starting five.

“Loon will be back as a starter,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “He’s won that and then some. We are all excited that he is back. There was a real fear that we would lose him. Having him back is huge for our team. It’s good for Lun to continue what he did for us last year.

“In that way, he’s really a good mentor for James.”

Looney struggled a lot with injuries early in his career. A role player off the bench for most of his career, Looney’s progress as the 30th pick in 2015 was slowed by a variety of injuries, from neuropathy to abdominal pain and a pair of hip surgeries.

At age 24, Looney played in 61 of the Warriors’ 72 regular season games in 2020-21 and then accomplished one of his biggest goals — playing in all 82 games last season (and 22 playoff games ) and rising as The Unpredictable Iron Man of Warriors.

Wiseman, bitten by injury himself, will benefit from Looney’s tutelage.

“I think that’s going to be a more natural progression for James, which didn’t really happen in his rookie year because of the situation,” Kerr told Slater. “We felt we needed to give him as much experience as possible and Looney was coming off a season where he missed all that time with the nerve problems. So this seems much more natural, much more organic. Lunn is the incumbent, the major league center who has seen it all. Then you have James who will learn from him and with him and get his chances as we go along. It’s a healthy development situation for James.”

“He’s shown me a lot of compassion in terms of what I have to work on,” Wiseman said of Looney to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Dalton Johnson in July. “But he’s also given me a lot of constructive criticism, and I’m willing to learn and observe — I think it’s OK, I just have to do better the next day and just develop my game. I don’t see it as an arrogant perspective as far as that I’m the No. 2 choice and I shouldn’t listen. I’m not doing that.

“I really want to listen and try to be the best I can be, and he’s given me a lot of information right now and is definitely developing my game.”

In Wiseman’s breakout season, his only taste of regular season NBA basketball, the Warriors were far from championship contenders. Of the 39 games he played before suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee, the Warriors won 18. He missed all but six minutes of the Warriors’ 15-5 hot stretch to end the regular season.

In 39 games, Wiseman averaged 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game. He posted a 23.8 percent usage rate, third on the Warriors behind guards Steph Curry and Jordan Poole.

RELATED: Kerr: JaMychal is ‘one guy who replaces two’ on Warriors roster

Kerr expects Wiseman to contribute to the Warriors’ repeat championship effort, but he won’t be asked to do that much.

“James really I think had some really good moments in his rookie year,” Kerr told Slater. “He gets lost in the shuffle because overall it’s been a struggle for our team and James has had his ups and downs. But you remember he had some really big games for us.

“As he continues to build momentum and gain confidence in his body and skills, I think he’s going to help us.”

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