The Warriors‘ first practice of the season was a valuable learning experience for James Wiseman, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Wiseman closed today’s session by working one-on-one with starting center Kevon Looney while big man coach Dejan Milojević looked on. Wiseman could only watch last season while recovering from a knee injury, so just being on the court is an important step forward.
“Watching Loon the last couple years has helped James,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “But now playing against him, he’ll be able to see and feel those tricks of the trade Loon is so good with — flipping the screen, catching the ball in the pocket, (dribble handoffs), all those things.”
Wiseman enters his third NBA season as the primary backup for Looney and may even start a few games when Looney rests. Looney played every regular season and playoff game last year, and the team doesn’t want to put that kind of strain on him again.
“I definitely want to play 82 again,” Looney said. “But I’m not going to compromise myself to do it. If I feel like I don’t look good or the training staff thinks I’m not moving as well or something is nagging me, I’ll take the break. But if I’m healthy, I’m going to play. I’m not going to sit because it’s a back-to-back just cause. I’m 26. I feel good. I missed a lot of years, so I have some games to make up.”
There’s more on the Warriors:
- Kerr was encouraged by Draymond Green‘s performance in today’s practice session, Slater states in the same piece. Green came to training camp straight from the Olympics last year, but there were concerns he wouldn’t be as sharp without an offseason competition to push him. “His conditioning looked good, his body looked good,” Kerr said. “He was really moving well both laterally and sprint speed up and down the floor. He was mentoring the young guys, coaching them up in drill work. Then on the floor, the blue team — with Looney, (Stephen Curry), (Andrew Wiggins) — that group just demolished everybody.”
- The only player not at today’s practice was Andre Iguodala, who announced Friday that he will play one more year, Slater adds. Iguodala will report to practice Monday and will accompany the team on its trip to Japan. “He was planning on retirement,” Kerr explained. “This was sort of a last-minute decision for him. We gave him the freedom to do the things he already had scheduled. … His presence is going to mean the world to us. We have so many young guys. The more mentoring and coaching from within, the better.”
- The Warriors’ history of success played a big role in attracting free agent Donte DiVincenzo, tweets NBA journalist Mark Haynes. “I wanted to get back to that winning culture,” DiVincenzo said. “The joy of playing simple winning basketball. I think I thrive in that.”