‘I think that’s you’: Mic’d-up Draymond coaches Wiseman in Warriors’ win over Lakers

Peninsula Premier Admin

When the time finally comes for Warriors forward Draymond Green to pursue a career after basketball, there’s little doubt he could make an immediate impact as a coach.

Fortunately for Golden State and 19-year-old rookie center James Wiseman, Green isn’t waiting for retirement to impart his wisdom on younger players.

Green and Wiseman have often been spotted on the court and on the bench this season with the veteran forward playing the role of “teacher” to the teenage center “student,” but it’s often difficult for fans to know the types of messages Green is relaying. In Monday’s nationally televised game between the Warriors and Lakers, TNT microphones and cameras gave viewers a glimpse of the way Green is mentoring Wiseman and the confidence he has in the talented yet far-from-polished rookie.

“Come here, I told you, if you’re open anywhere on the floor I’m going to hit you,” Green told Wiseman during a stoppage of the Warriors’ 115-113 comeback win. “You can catch that ball right there and make a play.”

The exchange took place immediately after Green pushed the ball up the floor to Wiseman, who promptly had it stripped by a Lakers defender as he approached the basket.

“I didn’t see it,” Wiseman told Green.

“You didn’t see it, that’s my point,” Green replied. “Always see the ball, because I’ve got you in open space against Marc Gasol. I like that. You see me? Come on. I like that. I think that’s you.”

The on-court conversation between Green and Wiseman garnered plenty of attention on social media for a few reasons, but the fact it took place directly in front of Lakers center Marc Gasol was high on the list. Gasol, a 13-year veteran, didn’t react to Green telling Wiseman he wanted to exploit what he considered a matchup advantage, but the candid nature of the conversation raised some eyebrows.

“I was just telling him most people would say Draymond put you in a tough spot and you turned the ball over because you shouldn’t have been in that spot,” Green said after the game. “I think if I give him the ball right there, he knows how to handle it, he’s one-on-one downhill with Marc Gasol and I love Marc Gasol’s game, I think he’s been phenomenal all these years, he’s a champion. I like James’ chances if he’s one-on-one downhill and under control.”

Finding a consistent rhythm has been challenging for Wiseman, who only played three college games at Memphis before becoming the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Warriors didn’t expect the transition to the pro game to be seamless for Wiseman, but many including Green realize how pivotal a 7-footer with such a rare combination of size and athleticism can be to the team’s overall success.

That’s one of the reasons the Warriors still feel confident using Wiseman in a starting role despite his early struggles this year, and why Green wants to challenge the rookie in a variety of situations.

“I told him, I put you in a tough spot, I did, 100%,” Green said. “But I think you can handle being in that tough spot. I’m going to do it again. I’m going to throw you the ball in that spot again, you’re going to be in transition and next time you’re going to figure it out.”

After trailing by as many as 19 points on Monday, the Warriors stormed back to beat the Lakers and pick up their second-largest comeback win of the season (22 vs. Clippers). Wiseman was in foul trouble for much of the night and was off the floor when the Warriors made their late push, which was no doubt disappointing for the rookie center.

As two-time MVP Stephen Curry explained, the earliest days of a player’s career are never the easiest.

“I used to get benched for Acie Law,” Curry said. “You got to be able to take those lumps in stride and learn.”

A four-point, three-rebound and five-turnover performance certainly qualifies as a lump for Wiseman, particularly considering he racked up five fouls and posted a minus-19 in 13 minutes on the floor. The stat line was ugly for the rookie, but the final score for his team was not.

At 7-6 on the season, the Warriors have demonstrated some early resilience and they’re hoping Wiseman follows suit.

“I have high hopes for him,” Green said. “I have high belief in what he’s capable of doing. I think I probably believe more in his capabilities than he do at this point. But I’m always trying to show him the pictures and help him understand the game more.”

Contributed by local news sources

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