Earn and grow.
It doesn’t quite pack the punch of “survive and move on,” a more urgent basketball phrase often heard around this time of year (typically attributed to North Carolina state coach Jim Valvano for his 1983 Wolfpack run for the NCAA title).
But that’s better than winning or developing, the most common choice facing NBA teams in the middle of the regular season trying to serve two often-conflicting masters. Like the Golden State Warriors, maybe more than most.
The Warriors have tried all season to establish themselves as a true playoff team. That makes sense, given the pedigree of their recent past (five finals from 2015 to 2019) and the prime numbers of base players Steph Curry and Draymond Green. (Klay Thompson also plays in the rehab room.)
But catching raw, high-end big man James Wiseman with the No. 2 overall pick made development a priority, and some WL midseason hiccups led the Warriors to add Jordan Poole and Nico Mannion to the goal. future slipping into the present.
Wiseman, of course, was the key to either / or against the Golden State two. The 7-footer who recorded just three appearances in his brief varsity ball stint in Memphis was precocious to start this season, averaging 12.2 points and 6.1 rebounds through January. But his numbers have since dropped – 10.6, 5.7 – taking his confidence with them. Mix in a sprained wrist, a sitdown linked to viral protocols and a more recent top-down churn, and it’s no wonder questions about Wiseman’s progress have turned into what Warriors coach Steve Kerr, sarcastically calls “James Wiseman’s ballot” every game. night.
Steve Kerr gives a sarcastic response about James Wiseman’s nightly “bulletin” coverage, then an actual response: “That’s what we’re trying to lock in with James. Keep it simple. Set up a lot of bullet screens. . ” Mentioned his “good connection” with Jordan Poole. pic.twitter.com/5Pn9u7PEjp
– Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 7, 2021
It all has to do with expectations. Wiseman was drafted ahead of Charlotte’s LaMelo Ball, which almost instantly took front-runner status as the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year and at the top of that rookie ladder. So when Ball fell with a broken bone in his hand, Wiseman theoretically joined Anthony Edwards of Minnesota and Tyrese Haliburton of Sacramento as potential usurpers.
Add to that the much-vaunted Warriors’ culture and peer mentoring, which presumably shortened the young man’s learning curve (he turned 20 last week), and many people naturally focused on Wiseman. .
Prematurely, it turns out.
In a recent article on Rookie of the Year winners, Monte Poole of NBA Sports Bay Area reminded readers of an NBA truism: It takes longer for the big guys. He noted that of the eight centers that won the award over the past 50 years, six had more college experience than Wiseman and one (Pau Gasol) had been a pro for two years in Spain.
It is up to the Warriors, who have appointed him their starter in the middle since March 23, to synchronize – if they can – the desire to win with their veteran stars by covering their bets for the seasons to come.
“No matter how we look at him, James just needs time,” Kerr said. “He’s going to need a summer league and training camp next year. And he’s going to grow up, he’s getting better and better and he’s going to be a great player. But we just can’t force the problem.
– Warriors of the Golden State (@warriors) April 7, 2021
So sometimes it will be 11 points, 10 rebounds and an active defense in the first half, as Wiseman posted against Milwaukee on Tuesday, and other times four points, four rebounds, 1 in 5 and five turnovers, like his job. in Miami last. week.
As Kerr said, “There are times when he looks like a future superstar. And there are times he looks like a young recruit trying to figure things out. So I think it’s perfectly natural at this point.
The Top 5 this week on the Kia Rookie 2020-21 scale:
(All statistics until Monday April 5)
1. Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves
Season statistics: 17.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.6 apg
Since last Ladder: 23.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.0 apg
Rung of the last ladder: 2
Its effectiveness comes and goes, but Edwards is swaying in there. He continues to lead the rookies in scores (17.6) and shots per game (16.5). The No.1 pick had a few nights and more wins over New York and Sacramento. That included his 19-8-5 performance against the Kings in which he shot 5-for-15 with seven turnovers in a snapshot of his season. It looks like it will take something dramatic for a new face to break into the Top 2 here, although Edwards and Haliburton may turn around a few times down the home stretch.
2. Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings
Season statistics: 13.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 5.1 apg
Since last Ladder: 12.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 6.4 apg
Rung of the last ladder: 1
There isn’t much that recruits can do. Haliburton thrived in the Kings’ recent 5-0 streak, and he was OK in their current 0-4 slippage. He averages 12 points and 5.5 assists to one turnover, pulling 43.5% in losses, while managing a combined plus-10 in the last two. Its defensive impact is legitimate: 1.2 interceptions, 1.2 deflections, 0.8 stray balls recovered every night.
Ty with the ❗️ pic.twitter.com/klf6UD8c8O
– Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) April 4, 2021
3. Jae’Sean Tate, Houston Rockets
Season statistics: 10.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.0 apg
Since last Ladder: 15.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.2 apg
Rung of the last ladder: 4
Where could Tate have been picked in the Class of 2020, based on his work so far? You can answer for yourself, based on his two-way play, counting stats, and 52.3 FG%. Used to stays in Belgium, then in Australia, the non-drafted 6-foot-4 wing (in 2018) has increased its game abroad to make this delayed splash. Its 15.6 ppg last week came on 11.2 FGA.
– Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) April 3, 2021
4. Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons
Season statistics: 10.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.3 apg
Since last Ladder: 9.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.6 apg
Rung of the last ladder: 5
His accuracy sagged last week – 39.7% overall – to his 9 of 15 (6 of 12 in the arc) for 25 points Tuesday in Denver. Already holds the Pistons rookie record for three (106) with 21 games to go. Part of the exciting rookie body of Detroit (Isaiah Stewart, Saben Lee) who now has the lottery pick Killian Hayes back from the hip injury of the season.
Saddiq Bey has now made 106 3 points this season, setting the Pistons’ all-time record for most 3 points in a rookie campaign. pic.twitter.com/3DS8HCcJQq
– PR pistons (@Pistons_PR) April 7, 2021
5. Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks
Season statistics: 12.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.2 apg
Since last Ladder: 6.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.4 apg
Rung of the last ladder: 3
It could be a crisis, it could be the rookie wall. But some of the smiles that Quickley generated for most of the season turned around. He shot just 29.4% last week and, another bad indicator, averaged just 1.8 free throw attempts in five games. There is still a long way to go to become a starting point keeper.
Fast on target pic.twitter.com/quINa4D7Ge
– NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) April 4, 2021
The next five:
6. LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
Season statistics: 15.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 6.1 apg
Since the last Ladder: DNP
Rung of the last ladder: 6
Parked here based on a stellar half season, not sure what to do next.
7. Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies
Season statistics: 9.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.4 apg
Since last Ladder: 11.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.5 apg
Rung of the last ladder: 8
Not just his recent shoot (43.8% 3FG) – it was over 4.8 for the week.
8. James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors
Season statistics: 11.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.6 apg
Since last Ladder: 8.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.8 apg
Rung of the last ladder: 7
The roller coaster continues, from the great week of immersion to the new ascent?
9. Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls
Season statistics: 9.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.3 apg
Since last Ladder: 12.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.3 apg
Rung of the last ladder: 9
Adding Vucevic means moving to SF, but the tasks and the workload remain.
T10. Chuma Okeke, Orlando Magic
Season statistics: 6.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.1 apg
Since last Ladder: 15.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.5 apg
Rung of the last ladder: N / A
The increased role boosted production (33.5 mpg in 2-2 weeks).
T10. Theo Maledon, Oklahoma City Thunder
Season statistics: 9.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.3 apg
Since last Ladder: 15.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.4 apg
Rung of the last ladder: N / A
Show the experience of the euro now as OKC plays for the future.
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Steve Aschburner has been writing about the NBA since 1980. You can email him here, find his archives here and follow him on twitter.
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