Wiseman scouting report from 1st G League game
James Wiseman will play his second G League game tonight at Chase Center. Be sure to catch all the live commentary and highlights, plus skills dissection (as seen below) and slow motion analysis on-the-spot as soon as Wiseman is subbed out, on our livestream starting at 3:00PM PST on the YouTube channel.
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Here are things I noticed from the first G League game in Stockton for Wiseman, full video report above (clickable):
Challenging the shot, as you would expect from a seven-footer. He obviously also makes guards think twice about launching a short jumper or floater in the paint.
Jump hook, one of a few things Wiseman has in his repertoire that Kevon Looney doesn’t, although I hesitate to make comparisons. More on that below.
Ferocity at the rim. All dunks by James are ferocious dunks. Not a lot of NBA players have that quality. It can help change the mood or momentum of a game.
Clearing out space. Wiseman’s wide stance when setting a pick can result in basically taking out a defender. Then you’re five-on-four. He completely obliterated Quinn Cook — yes, our old friend who is now playing for the G League Stockton Kings — on one pick and roll play, albeit Cook is only 6’2”.
Defensive communication. In a clip from The Athletic’s Anthony Slater, Wiseman blurted out, “Weak!” to his teammate up top, signifying a screen was approaching from the weak side. I thought about that a bit and concluded that, “Weak!” is a whole lot easier to yell out in the heart of the moment and clearly understandable than, “Left!” or “Right!”
Agility. James is not the fastest to a loose ball, whereas Looney has that instinct. But Wiseman is lithe and can finish with finesse when needed.
Offensive bag. Wiseman showed off a between-the-legs dribble to a side-step three-point move. I’m not sure if there’s any seven-footer in the league that can pull that off, NBA or G League. I’d be shocked if we saw this in crunch time at the NBA level this season, but you never know. At the time, the Santa Cruz Warriors were down big in Stockton and everybody in the building knew this game was more about Wiseman’s return and development than winning. James had the freedom to try that, while he might not at the NBA level until he’s proven he’s mastered some of the basics (just think Deandre Ayton for such “basics”).
His feet. Wiseman trapped the guard up top along with Chris Chiozza on more than one occasion. His footwork is impressive especially for a seven-footer. A lot of people on our YouTube live chats had, for example, clamored for big men named Robin Lopez or DeAndre Jordan or DeMarcus Cousins or Tristan Thompson. None of them have the defensive footwork of James Wiseman. Granted, most capable NBA guards with elite escape dribble skills are going to be able to slither past any big man, but James does have the over-the-top pass cut off should he choose to double. A wing might think twice about trying to turn the corner against that frame.
Disrupt a field goal attempt and run the floor. I just love how he gets low in a torpedo-like stance and takes off the other way. It’s an imposing figure, a beast of a 7’1”, 250-lb athletic frame coming at you downhill.
My expectations for Wiseman will remain low because the real key to a championship run is Draymond Green. All Wiseman has to do is backup Looney in case Kevon gets in foul trouble or the team comes out getting out-rebounded early, as we’ve seen during the stretches last month when those buyout big men targets were being mentioned.
But the Golden State Warriors have already shown they can beat anyone this season with a fully healthy Draymond (and mixed with a fully healthy Klay Thompson still won’t be seen until tomorrow when Dray returns to the lineup).
Anything Wiseman can provide on top of being Looney’s backup, whether it’s executing second-unit pick and roll with Jordan Poole or not, is icing the cake, another dimension that makes the Warriors less prone to being dominated in the paint by any given opponent.
Does Steve Kerr have enough time to experiment and trust James in some kind of productive combination? We shall see, but if it ends up not being the case, that doesn’t change my excitement for Wiseman’s future.
Hope you enjoyed the video at the top of the article, that you’ll try and join our game live chat someday, and let me know if I should continue doing these videos and/or articles, plus what you’d like to see more of on this website. See you on the live chat with the positivity for the team you love!