SAN FRANCISCO — Even off the bench, James Wiseman made sure to soak in every part of the Warriors’ NBA title run. 2 overall pick is hoping to get back on the court and help the Warriors defend that title in 2023.
How and when Wiseman will make those moves is still up in the air, though there’s a good chance he’ll attend Summer League games for the Warriors in Las Vegas in mid-July.
“Most likely play in the Summer League, but we’re trying to be located,” Wiseman said Saturday afternoon as the Warriors returned to the Chase Center for an interview out of some hunger. “It’s in the air, but there’s a 90 percent chance.”
Wiseman was sidelined for the entire season while rehabilitating his surgically corrected knee. The seven-foot center underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in April last year and had a deadline of returning after a year for training camp earlier this year. But a series of set-backs prolonged his rehab and kept him out of sporting action.
In March, Wiseman approached the door to return to action, even playing a handful of G-League games with the Warriors’ Santa Cruz ally. But the return was put on hold when his knee swelled again.
Wiseman has had two procedures since his surgery last April. The first arthroscopic surgery was performed in mid-December to relieve swelling in his knee. And, according to reports, Wiseman had an orthobiological injection in London this April.
Warriors coaches said Wiseman was in dire need of reps, “thousands of reps,” as coach Steve Kerr put it in March. The 21-year-old has played only 39 NBA games in 2020/21 before tearing the meniscus on his left knee during a game against the Houston Rockets. He played just 69 minutes in three matches at the University of Memphis.
Watching the NBA title from the sidelines was “challenging” for Wiseman. But he studied Jaren Jackson Jr. of Memphis — who had meniscus surgery last year, too — during the semifinals of the Western Conference to see how he moved and functioned.
Giving him some inspiration, rookies were watching Jonathan Cuminga and Moses Moody contribute to the stretch and playoffs.
“It’s hard for me because I haven’t found exact representatives of Jonathan and Moses,” Wiseman said. “I get reps, and I think I’ll be fine.”
Wiseman said he hasn’t had any recent swelling in his knee and is looking forward to working on his rim safety and rescue guards. For now, he’s celebrating being part of a winning team—he was right with his teammates during the champagne ceremony in Boston while embracing the Larry O’Brien trophy. But his eyes are on short-term goals.
“It’s all there, just to be patient,” Wiseman said. “I’m a young player who has a lot of years left to play in this league, God willing. So I’m just patient with myself and my craft. There’s no pressure on me… I’m Steph (Curry) I will do whatever I can to make Klay (Thompson) and Drummond (Green) successful.”
Andrew Wiggins wants to say with the Warriors
Once considered a first-pick bust, Wiggins re-established himself as a standout in this playoff run. Still feeling buzz from the NBA title ceremony, Wiggins expressed his desire to stay with Golden State longer.
“I would love to be here. Being here is top notch,” said Wiggins. “The way they treat their players, we are all one big family. One might say that in many places, but here they are on their own.” show through actions.”
Next season, Wiggins will be in the final year of his five-year $147 million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves at age 23. He is up for a possible expansion. Or a viable business piece, depending on how the Warriors decide to spend the next season.
Jonathan Kuminga’s Summer
Wiseman won’t be the only Warriors player to watch in the Summer League. Jonathan Cuminga hinted on Saturday afternoon that he would like to play in an off-season event in Las Vegas.
“I want to do it a lot, especially if I’m trying to grow and learn and get better every day, I have to play more,” said Kuminga, who is the democrat of the Congo national men’s basketball team. Can also play for Republic. , “I think the Summer League will be good.”
Some players go through their entire careers without winning an NBA championship. But at the age of 19, Kuminga is the second-youngest player to receive a championship ring.
Kuminga admitted how special it was for him to win at the highest level at such a young age. He sent a video of his family enjoying his cousin dancing griddy as the Warriors beat the Celtics in six games. His brother, who is back in Africa, also told him that “everyone is happy that you are a champion.”
“I learned how to be a winner… and now I know what it takes to get to the finals and get the job done,” Kuminga said. “Seeing what was happening out there, listening to the coaches, listening to the vets, it really helped me and I feel like if we keep up with the good work hopefully next year we will be there and I will go. Be one of the people helping the team get there.”
Staff writer Madeline Kenney contributed to this report.