In case you missed it, we have a developing situation on our hands in Golden State between Draymond Green and the Warrior’s #2 draft pick James Wiseman. Last night it boiled over when Dray got ejected from their game with the Knicks … for yelling profanities at Wiseman, his own teammate.
Yep. And this isn’t the first time Draymond’s gone after Wiseman; he also did it in their game against the Lakers in prime time.
So yeah, I’d say the Warriors have an issue on their hands. But I don’t think it’s the issue people think it is.
Let me explain.
The big story today is that the officials apparently told Steve Kerr that they were wrong to eject Draymond, because they initially thought that he was yelling at the refs.
But again, this obscures the real story here. The real story is that the Warriors are smack dab in the middle of dealing with a big issue, that’s likely only going to get worse.
I’m going to say it before everyone else does. James Wiseman might be the second coming of Andrew Bynum.
Wiseman was the #2 pick in the draft, a true seven foot monster with a wingspan like an albatross and an incredible 9’6” standing reach. Dude can nearly touch the rim without going on his tippy toes. All the athleticism you could possibly want.
And zero basketball awareness. He simply does not know how to play organized basketball, and Draymond Green is having NONE OF IT.
You can hardly blame Wiseman for this. He’s spent his entire life lining up against centers who are six inches or more smaller than him. Every single offense he’s been a part of has been “throw the ball to James and let’s win a title.” He played all of THREE games at Memphis. As it turns out, 69 minutes of college ball is not enough to prepare you to play in a complex offensive scheme.
On the flip side, can you really blame Draymond for being angry this guy can’t pick up the offense? Guy wants to win and win now, after suffering through a frustrating 15 win season last year. And if you think a guy like Draymond is going to lay off a guy who can barely catch outlet passes and is in the wrong place half the time when he’s on the court? You don’t know about guys like Andrew Bynum and Kwame Brown.
Both were athletically gifted big men who got PAID and who basically decided they weren’t going to put in the work to improve, and got put on blast by players who wanted to win. Michael Jordan LOST IT on Kwame Brown nearly every practice. Kobe hated Bynum so much it’s became legendary.
James Wiseman is maybe two years away from getting 100-150 million. The Warriors have to pay him; they can’t let the #2 pick, a pick they tanked for, walk away for nothing.
Here’s the problem, and we see it time and time again now especially with big men. Big guys like Wiseman play the game because they were genetically built for it. Do they love it? Not always. And since there is always a premium on height matched with athleticism, they are virtually guaranteed to have a job as long as their knees still work. And when they get paid… they CHILL. No incentive to improve especially because the desire wasn’t there to begin with. Why do you think Shaq shot 50% from the free throw line?? Because he didn’t have to add that to his game.
And it’s even worse today than it is in Shaq’s era. Millennials … we want work life balance. If James Wiseman is not learning how to play basketball now, when he’s hungry and has every incentive to learn the game, what makes you think he’s going to learn it when he’s driving a Bentley and living in a 30 million dollar house waking up next to Larissa Pippen??
Listen, I don’t blame Wiseman for this. He seems like a good dude. I blame the Warriors front office. And all of this is magnified by the fact the Warriors passed on Lamelo Ball, a perfect fit for their complicated offense and a dude who knows the game because of his obsessive dad who made him do nothing but drink, eat, and sleep hoops since he was born.
Check out the latest episode of This League, which was filmed before the latest incident between Draymond and Wiseman and where I predicted it would be an ISSUE. I break down the whole saga along with the other big stories in the NBA, and an interview with Nets Insider Anthony Puccio, the guy who broke both the KD/Kyrie AND Harden to Brooklyn news.
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