Rookie James Wiseman of the warriors facing grad school test in Jokic originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
After a series of matches against seasoned great men of various attacking skills, James Wiseman was quick to identify the lessons that were included in the process.
“Not being smart on the defense, too much search and I have to be a lot more self-disciplined,” he said late Tuesday night after fighting a losing battle against great men Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, who together scored 40 points in the lead. of the Pacers to a 104-95 victory over the Warriors.
This is, of course, easy for anyone to say, but actually it’s extremely difficult for a gifted 19-year-old trying to make his way in the NBA.
If Wiseman can’t do it on Thursday night, he could be embarrassed. When the Warriors face the Nuggets at Denver’s high altitude, he’ll see plenty of Nikola Jokic, the most comprehensive center in the league.
For Wiseman, this amounts to a freshman attending a senior school class.
Jokic leads Denver in scoring (24.3 points per game), rebounding (10.9) and assists (10.5). Yes, even when the Nuggets got off to a bad start, the 7-footer from Serbia has found a way to average a triple-double.
“We’re going to throw (Wiseman) into the fire,” said veteran wing Kent Bazemore after Thursday’s shootaround. “One way to get better is to go through it and get through. We’re going to help him along the way. I tell him all the time, ‘Just keep doing what you’re doing. You learn more than you know. ”
Wiseman has his share of educational moments against the likes of Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam before confronting Turner and Sabonis. However, Jokic plays the game on a completely different level.
At 25, he’s the Denver franchise leader in triple-doubles with 45. He’s one of the brightest passers-by in the league, turning the kind of dimes that make the jaw drop. He specializes in mediating, if not incapacitating opponents of great men.
And here comes Wiseman, who is only playing his 15th game since his last at East High School in Memphis. For Jokic, this is an opportunity to abuse a teen – even someone who has shown himself not to be a typical teen.
For the past eight days, Wiseman fought big players who can shoot the 3 ball and bounce back into traffic. While no one can pass Jokic’s skill, much of this can be considered prep work. The rookie knows what to do.
“Just make sure I stay down, stay on my feet, keep my hands up, use my height and my athleticism, and don’t do stupid things,” he said recently. “I have to make smart decisions, play defensively with precision and just make sure I stay upright.”
In order for the Warriors to best offset the full set of skills that Jokic brings, it is imperative that Wiseman avoid the dirty troubles that plagued him against Indiana. It’s also crucial to force the unwieldy Denver center to expend energy on defense.
“A lot of rookies come in and can’t play right away,” said Bazemore. “But he’s going to start (against) some of the best players in the game. He is doing well. He handles it well. He actually gets a little frustrated with himself, but that’s good for a young player.
‘The sky is the limit for him. But tonight he will lose his job. “
Regardless of the outcome, Wiseman should come out of this game as a better player. There is only one “Joker”, and the rook can’t blame him for that.
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