How will James Wiseman fit in with Warriors' revamped second unit?

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Ask Kerith: How will Wiseman fit in with revamped second unit? 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.

After 22 games, the Warriors are 11-11. They’re making up ground after the dreadful 0-5 road trip at the beginning of the season. The rotation feels more solidified with ten players firming up their roles, but that means Moses Moody and James Wiseman are on the outside looking in.

Both Wiseman and potential trades were popular topics when I asked Warriors fans on Instagram for mailbag questions. Let’s dive in!

@_calvinz asks: Is Bob Myers looking to make a move? How's the relationship between Draymond and JP going?

Bob Myers would say he’s “always listening,” but I doubt he feels the urgency to make a change right now. At 22 games, the Warriors are finally rounding into shape. Myers has to know the qualities of this roster before he decides whether to add or subtract.

After starting the season 3-7, the Warriors are trending in the right direction, going 8-4 to arrive at this point. They’re winning more, and the second unit has transformed into something that can both hold and build leads. The defensive intensity also looks better. It finally feels like the Warriors have stability.

Draymond Green’s overlapping minutes with the second unit have helped organize that group. Next to Jordan Poole, Green can be the facilitator, lightening Poole’s load so he can play off the ball and score.

As far as their relationship, it seems OK. They sit next to each other in the locker room. They’re teammates. They cannot avoid each other, right? Both are professionals working toward the same goal: to win games and repeat as champions.

@6r363 asks: Are they now really past the Green/Poole Punch Gate?

I don’t know. I think so? But I cannot say definitively. It does not serve Poole, Draymond, or the team well to keep talking about the punch, so they won’t. Players know how to shape storylines and they want to leave this one in the past.

That doesn’t mean reporters can’t ask about moments in history. But until we have a reason to, like a weird moment of on-court tension or whispers about a flare-up behind the scenes, it’s not a topic to revisit every day.

Right now, we only can go by what we see on the court, and it’s working.

@dravestruz asks: Is there a timeframe placed on how Wiseman will fit with the Dubs before they decide/attempt to trade him?

Tomorrow is a practice day, and I expect Kerr will give us an update on Wiseman’s progress in the G League. Wiseman is with Santa Cruz to play 25-to-30 minutes per game, get good workouts in practice, and have more individual attention to develop the foundational things a big man needs to succeed in the NBA.

At the time of publishing this mailbag, it’s unclear how long Wiseman will continue his G League stint. Your question about Wiseman’s timeline is unclear too.

The Warriors believed Wiseman would be ready to be an impactful player this season in the second unit as a lob threat and rim-protector. Then it became obvious he needed more time and development.

If Wiseman is stuck in second gear while the Warriors are reaching cruising speeds, there is a risk he could be left behind. However, the front office tends to be patient with players. Their belief in Wiseman has remained steady and loud.

I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that the Warriors will trade Wiseman. But they have a problem on their hands, because the second unit finally looks good. How do they fold Wiseman back in? How much playing time is he really going to get when the Warriors turn to small ball to win?

It’s unfortunate that Wiseman’s timeline has not meshed so far with the progress of the team. Personally, I hope he gets a chance to figure things out this season.

@kingkongkoning says: I've been watching for years. The Dubs succeed with "good hands." It's vital for everything on offense. Is this natural or a learned trait? Could Wiseman learn it?

It’s both natural and learned. To take the question literally, there are plenty of hand-eye coordination drills players work on (even Steph!) to link the sensation of touch and ball control with quick mental synapses.

For Wiseman, part of “good hands” is familiarity with teammates. Is his body in the best position to run and catch? Do teammates know his pocket for passes? He hasn’t had much time with teammates.

“Hands” also could mean his passing ability and his defensive positioning, and I think it all adds up to how Wiseman is inexperienced. He’s young and he can learn.

@suzyytag says: I would like to know what Klay has in his locker...or what his pregame routine is. Do you have any funny stories about him?

Klay’s locker is typical: shoes and clothes everywhere. Imagine a dozen pairs of shoes, some in boxes, some scattered on the floor. Last I saw, he had a pair of boat shoes in the mix too.

He has dirty laundry from practice. He has jerseys hanging up with his regular clothes. There’s some lotion, deodorant, and a hair pick. Klay’s Globetrotters ball is on the floor with the shoes.

He also has books and newspapers in his locker. It’s true he’s a reader, and he asks for local newspapers when the team is on the road.

@stephani712 says: I'd love to hear your thoughts on DiVincenzo's time so far on the team and his future on the Warriors. I am so impressed by his skill, but more importantly, I can't remember the last time a new player felt like such a perfect fit to the Warriors' culture, style of play, and seamlessly joined the vets on the floor. 

Donte DiVincenzo was a great addition to the Warriors. He can take some of the pressure off Poole in the second unit, like Draymond, and he hoovers up rebounds.

I like him. It’s nice to see him acclimate with the team after his hamstring injury slowed his start to the season.

Donte is locked in, no matter what he’s doing. I remember an NBA Cares event in Tokyo where Donte was paired up with some children for dribbling drills. He introduced himself to the kids, dapped them up, kept eye contact and make them feel special. He stayed in the moment, you know? There’s a sweetness to him.

@Mollyalarcon says: How is Steve Kerr feeling about JaMychal Green?

Steve Kerr acknowledged he was playing JaMychal Green in the wrong position and that was impacting his game. Remember those early-season experimental moments when Jonathan Kuminga, JaMychal, and Wiseman were on the floor together?

Kerr said it feels more natural for Green to be a small-ball five, and since then, with other changes in the second unit, he looks much better.

He can shoot the three, but I like that he’s been attacking the rim with lay-ups and dunks. JaMychal is the team leader in dunks, in fact.

@halftimehailey asks: Is there a team that the guys get especially HYPED to play?

They’ll say downplay it…but guys like facing their former teams. Especially if they have a big game.

I’m going deep in the memory bank here, but in October of 2018 when Jonas Jerebko had the game-winning tip-in against the Jazz, Klay Thompson declared, “They didn’t want ya, Jonas.”

It’s nice to stick it to the people who told you goodbye. The players also get up for teams they faced in the playoffs. The upcoming games against the Celtics and Grizzlies will be fun.

RELATED: NBA confirms late controversial Steph travel in loss to Mavs

@k.fab wondered: Is Kevon Looney at the top or near the top of most consecutive games played in Warriors history?

Kevon Looney played in his 133rd consecutive regular season game when the Warriors faced the Mavericks. It’s the second-longest active streak, with Mikal Bridges holding the lead with 330 games.

In Warriors history, Looney’s streak isn’t even in the Top 10! Take a look at this picture from the Warriors game notes.

The franchise’s all-time leader is Joe Graboski with 361 consecutive regular season games. And Klay Thompson is an active player ahead of Looney in team history, with 214 consecutive games played.

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