While Jordan Poole is the most obvious recent example of a Warriors player who benefited from a stint in the G League before breaking out at the NBA level, Anthony Slater of The Athletic believes Kevon Looney may be a better point of comparison for James Wiseman, who is headed to the Santa Cruz Warriors on Tuesday.
As Slater writes, Looney spent time in the G League in each of his first three NBA seasons, including a stint in his second year after he had been pulled from the team’s rotation. Looney has since evolved into one of Golden State’s most dependable and trusted veterans, but admits he wasn’t thrilled by the assignment at the time, and he knows it may not be easy for Wiseman to take his own G League assignment in stride.
“It’s really difficult,” Looney said. “Especially when you’re a high pick. You got all these expectations. You’re coming off injury. You want to prove yourself to all the doubters. You see all your peers doing well, everyone talking about how good they are and you feel like you’re just as good and things aren’t coming as fast. It makes it frustrating.”
Here’s more on the Warriors:
- According to Slater, JaMychal Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and Anthony Lamb are likely to remain in Golden State’s rotation with Wiseman in Santa Cruz. Head coach Steve Kerr said after Monday’s win that he hasn’t done Green “any favors” by how he has used him so far (video link via Slater). Kerr now believes Green is best suited to be a backup center, rather than a power forward, and believes Green’s ability to space the floor will help create room for Poole to operate.
- After pouring in 36 points on Monday, Poole is now averaging 28.7 PPG on .475/.394/.944 shooting in three starts this season, compared to 13.9 PPG (.421/.323/.765 shooting) in 11 games off the bench. Kerr said on Monday that things come easier for Poole when an opponent’s top defender is focused on Stephen Curry and he can utilize screens set by Looney and Draymond Green (Twitter link via Kendra Andrews of ESPN). However, as he said last week, Kerr stressed that he’s not considering moving Poole into the starting five on a full-time basis.
- In a conversation with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, Klay Thompson expressed some frustration that helping lead the Warriors to four titles and returning from two major leg injuries hasn’t earned him more leeway from critics as he works through an extended slump. The veteran sharpshooter remains confident that he both he and the Warriors will find their stride sooner or later. “I’m happy to go through this now compared to a few months from now,” Thompson said. “No need to panic. We’re like 14 games in. It’s a long season. We face a challenge of going back-to-back, which is incredibly difficult. And then trying to integrate the new guys. It’s going to take time but we’ll figure it out.”