Draymond Green wouldn't have benched James Wiseman for missed COVID test

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Ali Thanawalla
·5 min read
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Draymond wouldn't have benched Wiseman over missed COVID test originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors got blown out by the LA Clippers on Thursday night at Staples Center, and while that was noteworthy, the biggest talking point after the game was about how coach Steve Kerr handled the situation involving James Wiseman.

The rookie center missed two COVID-19 tests over the All-Star break and was held out of practice Wednesday because he hadn't cleared testing protocols.

Considering it was the Warriors' first practice before the start of the second half of the season, that was valuable development time Wiseman was missing.

Before Thursday's game, Kerr told reporters Wiseman was available and would play, but not start.

Then the game happened and Wiseman didn't play the entire first half. Then he didn't play in the third quarter. Only after the Warriors were down by 36 points entering the fourth quarter did Wiseman finally enter the game.

Draymond Green, who has served as a mentor for Wiseman this season, was asked about the situation after the Warriors finished practice Friday, and he didn't put the blame squarely on the rookie center.

"I'm not sure if I was the coach, I would have suspended him over a COVID test, or not played him over a COVID test," Green told reporters on a Zoom conference call. "Not that I'm questioning what Coach Kerr did. I'm just not sure I would have done that because there's so much testing. Like, tomorrow, we test three times. We test from 8 to 9 a.m., 5 to 6 p.m. and 10 to 11 p.m. We've got to test three times tomorrow and we got Daylight Savings and then we got a 1 p.m. game [on Sunday]. I'm just not going to be mad about that man missing a COVID test over All-Star break. Now, where it gets tough is, he missed practice. And I get that as a coach, 'Yeah, you missed practice.' And Wise definitely needs to practice because he's still learning. So I do understand from the missed practice standpoint.

"But when you look at the entire picture, he missed practice due to missing a COVID test. And these COVID test, I mean, listen, I think COVID is very serious, it's 100 percent something we need to worry about. I'm not sure me testing three times in one day is changing anything. At this point, it's really starting to get ...  I don't know man ... it's tough. I blame [James] though. He should have got out of town for All-Star break instead of staying in San Francisco. He wouldn't be facing that problem. But all this testing is insane. And it seems to be getting worse."

Green revealed that Kerr spoke to him and Steph Curry about what he planned to do with Wiseman, but the three-time NBA All-Star admitted he didn't feel it was his place to talk his coach out of it.

"I think I had a chance to say something then. I didn't say absolutely nothing," Green said. "You've got to know when it's your time to say something and know when it's your time to shut the hell up. I feel like that was a situation where it was time for me to shut the hell up. So I didn't say much. I just said 'OK, cool. Respect' I left that one alone. That's coach's decision. That's not for me to give my input. Like I said, I wouldn't have sat him down over a COVID test, which, when Steve told us he was meeting with us, I had already heard he was getting sat down for a COVID test. But then, when Steve met with us, he said 'You know, he missed a COVID test, but he missed practice and him missing practice, that's an issue. It's an important practice coming back from All-Star break, he needs the practice time.' I 100 percent understand that. So I don't think Steve was wrong.

"He made a decision that he wanted to make as a coach and he is entitled to that decision. I'm just not sure I would have done it and partly because of all this testing. It's just insane. So you gotta take my opinion with a little grain of salt because it's from disdain from all this testing that we're doing. So my opinion might be a little skewed on that situation due to all this COVID testing."

Despite missing the first three quarters of the game, Wiseman played well when finally given the chance get on the court, finishing with 14 points and seven rebounds in 12 minutes.

"I thought he played really well," Green said. "He could have sat there and sulked and went out there and looked bad. He played really well. So hopefully he play like that when he's pushed back up in that rotation. We need it."

RELATED: Why Wiseman starting moving forward seems likely

After Thursday's loss, the Warriors are 19-19 with a tough home back-to-back coming up Sunday and Monday against the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers.

Kerr said the benching was part of Wiseman's development. Wiseman addressed the media after Thursday's game and admitted he's human and made a mistake. He's just 19 years old, but it sounds like he's learned his lesson.

We'll find out Sunday and Monday if he has been punished enough for his missed COVID-19 test and missed practice.

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