How stronger James Wiseman will fit with Warriors when healthy

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  • James Wiseman
    James Wiseman
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Steve Kerr
    Steve Kerr
    American basketball player and coach
  • Klay Thompson
    Klay Thompson
    American basketball player

Ask Kerith: How will Wiseman fit with Warriors when healthy? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

  • Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, takes you inside the team as only she can throughout the season with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram, @KerithBurke.

The Warriors handled the Magic last night on an explosive night for Andrew Wiggins, who finished with 28 points and eight 3-pointers. Steph Curry canned seven threes, part of a 31-point night. 

Steph is 15 threes away from tying Ray Allen for the most triples in NBA history. 

On to the mailbag, where James Wiseman was the most popular topic.

Steve Kerr’s update on James Wiseman yesterday was more of the same: He’s still not scrimmaging five-on-five, but he continues his individual work on the court and in the weight room. 

Wiseman had surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee in mid-April. It’s been about eight months post-op. The Warriors are being cautious with Wiseman. His body will dictate the timeline. 

I asked Kerr if it’s certain we won’t see Wiseman in a game until 2022. Kerr said because Wiseman is not scrimmaging yet, and he’ll need some time to get his conditioning right after that, “You do the math,” Kerr replied.

I think so. That’s the plan. And that’s the hope. Injuries have slowed down that vision.

The Warriors did not trade the No. 2 pick. They were high on Wiseman and anointed him their center of the future. He’s an important piece of a youth movement that fits with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green in their primes.

The way Bob Myers and Kerr talk big picture about Wiseman is encouraging. They believe in his long-term value. 

Wiseman looks more muscular this season based on his Media Day appearance and the brief glimpses we get at practice. The Warriors need a true seven-footer to bang around against the league’s big men so Draymond’s not giving up inches and pounds when he plays the five. 

With the great passing on this team and the vertical threat other players have brought with show-stopping dunks, I like thinking about Wiseman’s potential to throw down or simply get easy buckets at the rim. 

It feels like a luxury the Warriors don’t need their rookies on the floor immediately because of the team’s depth. Both of these guys are teenagers, and Santa Cruz is a fine place to play big minutes and make mistakes in a low-stake environment. 

Kerr specifically emphasized plenty of playing time for Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, saying the G League is a “place to get reps and understand what wins.” Kerr wants them to drill, over and over, what makes good defensive reads and rotations. 

Another mailbag question-asker asked why yo-yo these guys back and forth? Wouldn’t they be better served getting “real” minutes in the NBA? 

The Warriors have decided 30-plus minutes night with the Sea Dubs is what feels best for these youngsters at the moment. They’re around the big club plenty for games and practices. 

They will get playing time in end-of-game situations when the Warriors have large leads.

Kuminga made the most of his time against the Magic with a pair of dunks, like this one where he introduced his forehead to the rim.

The ability to acclimate to the NBA with the best of both worlds - heavy playing time away from the spotlight, but being around the team to learn what it takes to be a pro - seems extremely beneficial. 

On Instagram @kyoyatategami11 asked, Which game will Klay Thompson make his return and will he be on a minutes restriction?

I wish I had a crystal ball, because this answer is unknown. I understand why fans might be antsy hearing “soon” when soon can mean days, weeks, or months. 

Well, we know it won’t be days. Klay is not going on the team’s upcoming five-game road trip. But when the team returns on Dec. 20, that’s when Klay Watch will start whipping into a frenzy. 

At this time, Klay is scrimmaging five-on-five, which is the last step before a player returns. The emphasis for Klay right now is building his endurance and strength, so his lungs are ready for the intensity of NBA games. The scrimmage length is growing by a few minutes each time he hits the floor. He has to get accustomed to the bursts again. 

He will be on a minutes restriction when he returns. Whether he rejoins the starting line-up is TBD, but I bet he will. 

RELATED: Steph picks best word to describe Klay

@raydum on Instagram asks, Do you think Jordan Poole will accept his reduced role when Klay comes back? Do you think he has more of a team-first approach than Kelly Oubre?

Jordan Poole understands the emotional ups and downs of a season. In year three, his maturity has grown and he embraces anything that helps the team win. He’ll handle Klay’s return like a professional. 

It’s not often in one’s career you can say you were bumped by Klay Thompson. Poole understands the hierarchy. I think he’ll be genuinely happy to see Klay return.

Draymond Green said something off-hand in a recent episode of his podcast about whether the Warriors starters would be their best five players, or a different combination. Interesting. There are still some unknowns about what happens when Klay comes back, and Poole will continue to have a role in a potent offense. 

The Magic game was the tenth straight game Andre Iguoldala has missed with right knee soreness. 

While Kerr did not want to guess how many games Andre would play this season (half? fewer?), he said Andre will go on the team’s upcoming five-game road trip. 

The Warriors wouldn’t drag him all over the country if he wasn’t going to play. Expect to see him soon.

As far as playoffs go, Andre manages his body in a way that helps him peak at the right time. I don’t know if we’ll see Finals MVP Andre, but he will contribute. Andre makes an impact on an off the court. He’s a wise locker room guy, guiding the youngsters through the entire NBA experience with his nutrition tips and business savvy. 

On instagram, @randshapiro asked about GP2, wondering if he’d get more minutes and whether Golden State would guarantee his contract before January 10th. 

It’s awesome that Gary Payton II went from the being the last guy signed as the 15th player on the roster to someone averaging about 15 minutes per game on a deep team. He’s earned it. If he keeps up his strong defense, cashes in some buckets, and consistently appears positive in plus/minus, the Dubs would be silly not to play him

As far as January 10th, I would be shocked (SHOCKED!) if the Warriors don’t guarantee his contract, but I don’t think it will happen before January. I dislike thinking in extreme scenarios, but if a catastrophic injury happens or if a hugh trade materializes, you never know what flexibility the Warriors would want on the roster. Business-wise, I don’t think they’ll lock in GPII just yet, simply because they don’t have to. 

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @KerithBurke, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.

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