Warriors have a James Wiseman problem and only one solution

The Warriors may be the defending NBA champions, but the organization’s “two deadlines” plan is still in play.

And it will take some serious progress on that front if the Warriors are to repeat as champions.

It’s the start of the season, but the Warriors have one glaring problem: their second unit stinks.

The talent is there. The second unit passes the sight test. It should be a strong wave.

But the numbers are overwhelming.

The Warriors’ starting lineup – made up of the team’s established veterans – has been the best in the NBA so far this year, leading the teams by 36 points per 100 possessions.

But when the Warriors go to Jordan Poole and James Wiseman — the point guard and second-unit center anchors — production went off a cliff.

Together, the duo played 57 minutes and averaged an abysmal 0.89 points per offensive possession while allowing 1.22 points per defensive possession, according to NBA.com.

And while the Warriors tried a number of wing combinations around the Poole-Wiseman combination early in the season, none alleviated the scoring or defense problem. I doubt that will change.

The problem is fairly easy to spot:

It’s Wiseman.

There was never any question that a Poole-Wiseman combination was going to have defensive issues to start the season. Poole can’t defend the perimeter and Wiseman hasn’t shown himself capable of defending at any level of the pitch.

Obviously, that one-two punch is problematic.

The idea, however, was that a Poole-Wiseman 1-5 pick-and-roll would be a solid offensive base that could hold off the Warriors until one of the two young elements of the Dubs’ future finds out. how to stop. .

So why is this specifically a Wiseman problem?

Because even though Poole can’t defend, he still showed his ability to score. He just can’t do it when Wiseman is on the field.

Meanwhile, when Wiseman is on the field without Poole, the Warriors’ offense is downright abysmal, while the defense remains terrible.

Yes, we have isolated the problem.

Wiseman may be an aesthetically pleasing player, but the grace he exhibits in the open field doesn’t give him or the Warriors much value in close combat.

The young center has heavy hands and little feeling for the NBA game on either side of the court at the moment. He’s also heavy-footed, but he’s constantly being knocked out of position by opposing big men.

Combine all that and the Warriors’ turnover rate doubles with him on the floor while their defensive rebounding percentage at the edge drops by almost 20%.

Here’s how bad it is: Wiseman has turned Steph Curry into a negative player so far when they’ve played together this season.

In Wiseman’s 26 minutes on the floor with Curry this season, the Warriors were outscored by 20 points per 100 possessions. That’s a negative 38-point swing from Curry’s minutes without Wiseman.

So what is the solution ?

Time.

Wiseman, the former No. 2 overall, has the talent to play in the NBA. It shows in too infrequent flashes.

But his poor feeling can be attributed to playing less than 1,000 NBA minutes at the start of his third year in the league.

The problem here is that centers usually take a long time to develop, especially on the defensive side of the pitch. Wiseman is just getting started.

So he has to play. Maybe we can have a different conversation in 2023, but a four-game sample isn’t big enough to write off Wiseman — no matter how tempting that may be right now.

Maybe by the time the Warriors get to the playoffs, Wiseman will be the kind of player who can help win a title.

Maybe not. It’s entirely possible that Wiseman will never develop.

But with little experience and a team option in his fourth year worth a barely insignificant $12.1 million for next season, the Warriors need to see him on the court — a lot — this season. regular.

And that means there’s a lot more pain ahead for the Dubs in the games to come.

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