Game Thread: TNT Double header - plus a roundup of today's best stories
There’s some very good basketball on tonight, with TNT hosting the first meeting between the Los Angeles Clippers and the newly revamped Brooklyn Nets ahead of the Warriors game against the Celtics.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (11-9) vs Boston Celtics (10-8)
WHEN: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 // 7:00 pm PST
We used to do these link summary articles sometimes at GSOM, and there was this Wiseman article, in particular that Warriors fans need to be aware of. So here goes…
James Wiseman figures to play a franchise-defining role with the Warriors, so I’ve been extremely curious to read more about him. It looks like the Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau is taking the first big crack at a deep dive into the rookie’s background and first year in the league. Today’s first installment of "Wiseman's Way," a series chronicling James Wiseman's rookie season with the Warriors, focused on the rookies family and childhood, and it’s powerful stuff.
Some things I learned:
Wiseman is extremely tight with his mom and sister. He moved his mom out to SF with him, and calls his older sister after every game.
He grew up mostly in East Nashville. His older sister would watch him after school, taught him to cook, and would challenge him to basketball games in the driveway (I bet she can kinda ball out).
His mom sounds amazing. Worked two jobs putting him and his sister through school and seems to be responsible for instilling his work ethic.
Wiseman became the youngest player in franchise history to start on opening night. The 37 points in his first two games are the most by a Warriors rookie since Rick Barry’s 42 in 1965.
This whole segment:
Wiseman, fueled by a desire to help his family, transformed himself. Gawky and uncoordinated in middle school, he had become one of the nation’s top high school recruits. In the summer before eighth grade, determined to improve his athleticism, he slogged through workouts in his driveway for six or seven hours a day.
Gang members abandoned their street corners to join him in games of two-on-two or three-on-three. When they returned to dealing drugs, they left Wiseman alone. The towering 13-year-old running grueling drills and banging in shots at all hours was destined for a life bigger than anything the streets could offer.
“The dealers and stuff, they really supported me,” Wiseman said. “They’d just tell me, ‘Keep doing your thing. Keep working on your craft so you can get out of here and put on for your city.’”
There’s also some stuff in there about Penny Hardaway, and Wiseman’s college ineligibility, but the whole thing is just a fantastic read. I cannot recommend it enough. And it’s just the first installment in a series!
There’s a lot to chew on when it comes to the Warriors’ situation with Curry right now. I have a partial article stewing on this exact topic, because it’s an interesting (and super subjective) subject. Namely, what does it mean to “maximize” the rest of Curry’s career?
And if the answer to the above question is “sacrifice the future, just field the best team possible every season (including this one)” then you’ll agree with the author’s sentiment:
More importantly, the idea that Thompson is just going to come back firing on all cylinders feels like a reach. By the time next season begins, Thompson won't have played in an NBA game for almost 30 months. He's going to turn 31 in a week, which means he'll be 32 a few months into next season, and, as we know, he'll be coming off a torn ACL and a torn Achilles.
If the Warriors don't make any big moves, a 90 percent Thompson likely isn't enough. It's not even certain that a 100 percent Thompson puts the Warriors within the ranks of legitimate contenders. Seeing how great Kevin Durant and John Wall look so far, given that they are both coming off Achilles tears, gives the Warriors hope that Thompson can return to his old self. That's deceiving, however, in the fact that Durant sat 18 months from the day he tore his Achilles, and Wall sat 21 months. Thompson will be trying to come back in the neighborhood of 12 months post-Achilles tear.
Reports out today say that Beal isn’t asking out, the team isn’t trading him; and there are also plenty of structural design questions on Beal’s fit here… actually, just read Anthony Slater’s article on the Athletic.
But even as just something of an example trade, it’s a valid question of if the Warriors are better served waiting on Wiseman and next year’s pick, plus a returned Thompson, or if they should cash out as much as possible chasing another top tier star player.
Wanamaker is a solid backup. Though he’s no Iguodala or Livingston, he does seem to offer that same stabilizing vibe. Coaches love knowing what they’ll get out of a player when they sub them in, and Wanamaker talks a bit about Kerr and how the Celtics coach, Brad Stevens felt like home for Wanamaker - especially as late in life as he found his NBA shot.
Remember that Wanamaker spent the eight years overseas (after going undrafted in 2011) before landing a role in Boston.
"It's definitely a special place," Wanamaker said. "It was my first chance, my first NBA deal, which was my lifelong dream. It's going to be great out there playing against the guys who I still keep in touch with. Great relationships with those guys. Two years with most of them."
"When I'm hearing the play calls and hear Brad's voice and some of the coaches calling plays, it may be weird a little bit to begin. But once I adjust, the competitiveness will pick up. Some friendly trash talk with the guys. I'm excited."