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The rookies transitioning into the NBA this season faced a tough task given the circumstances surrounding the shortened training camp period and the limited number of preseason games. While each rookie had their own set of challenges to overcome, Golden State Warriors rookie James Wiseman has endured an even tougher transition than most.
Of course, Wiseman missed the start of camp after reportedly testing positive for the coronavirus. He was forced to be sidelined until he was cleared to return to practice and missed a valuable opportunity to begin learning a new system and group of teammates. Wiseman was permitted to watch practice inside the gym, but it isn’t the same as participating.
Wiseman did not play in either of the Warriors’ three preseason games as he continued to ramp up his work on the court. On Monday, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Wiseman was a full participant in practice and will be available to play in the regular-season opener on Tuesday versus the Brooklyn Nets.
The obstacles Wiseman overcame during the preseason were greater than what most players experienced but the 19-year-old seemingly took everything in stride and remained upbeat throughout the entire process to this point.
“I think he has kept a positive attitude through it all,” Stephen Curry said. “To get out there, it’s gotta be tough as a rookie coming in. As the second draft pick, you’re expected to just have smooth sailing to camp and into your first game and you got thrown a curveball coming into training camp and missing that.
He has caught up pretty well, I don’t know how he feels physically in terms of being as close to 100% in conditioning or rhythm-wise. I think he has been asking so many questions, he has been really engaged in practice and in our scrimmages. Hopefully, tomorrow he just enjoys the moment of playing in his first NBA game.
Wiseman said last week after his first full scrimmage with the team that he felt good and that his conditioning level was also good. He has since participated in another full scrimmage and practice, which were the final two hurdles he needed to clear to be ready to play on Tuesday.
The Warriors will likely ease him into the action to start the season so Wiseman may not see too much playing time. But to be ready to play after enduring such a rocky start in the NBA speaks volumes about his preparation and ability to deal with any obstacle thrown his way.