Steve Kerr discusses decision to bench James Wiseman vs. Clippers

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Jessica Kleinschmidt
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Kerr discusses decision to bench rookie Wiseman vs. LAC originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Warriors rookie James Wiseman had to sit out of the first three quarters of Thursday’s 130-104 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, and he might have sat the entire time if it weren't for the score. He had missed a mandatory coronavirus test coming out of the All-Star break.

He also was forced to miss Warriors practice on Wednesday, which was an important practice after coming off a six-day break. 

“A big part of this season is for James to learn what it’s all about to be a pro and to handle your business and coming back from All-Star break is always one of the biggest practices of the year, just because, you know, you’ve been off for six days, you have a chance for one practice before you play a game and it’s got to be a good one,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told 95.7 The Game on Friday. 

“In this particular practice, we’re getting ready to make some rotational changes, so it’s a huge deal for a player to not follow through on his obligations and the team pays for that, right? Because you’re not able to get the work in that you’re hoping to.”

It also was a blowout loss to the Clippers on Thursday, and Kerr said it was a possibility Wiseman would have sat out the entirety of the game if that wasn’t the case.

“Quite possibly,” Kerr told reporters on Friday. “That was a decision that was going to be made on the fly.”

Kerr knows Wiseman’s age (19) was a factor. He’s still a teenager and trying to figure things out as a professional, but he chalked it up to a lesson and didn’t take anything away from the promising rookie. 

“James is a fantastic young guy, he’s really mature, he’s got an incredible future ahead of him. It’s just, you know what, you got to learn some lessons and you have to pay your dues a little bit. This was just nothing more than a reminder to take care of your business,” Kerr said. 

“I thought he handled it really, really well he played great in the fourth quarter, brought great energy, said all the right things to the media afterwards, so. So to me, it was a positive experience for him and his growth and we move on to the next game.”

Wiseman took full responsibility for the mistake in his postgame media availability.

RELATED: Draymond wouldn't have benched Wiseman over missed COVID test 

Kerr said he was surprised to hear Wiseman had missed his test since this has been part of their daily routines throughout the season. 

“It was not a difficult call to make especially for a guy who’s 19 and figuring things out. I talked to Steph and Draymond, you know they laughed thinking about their time when they were rookies in this league, and remember those guys played college basketball for three, four years also -- they were older and more experienced."

Wiseman has shown a maturity beyond his years in just about every other situation during his rookie season, and it appears he's certainly learned his lesson. 

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