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Home Sport James Wiseman went coast to coast, and the Warriors’ world changed

James Wiseman went coast to coast, and the Warriors’ world changed


The future beckons #James #Wiseman. #It’s a great open canvas, like the court in front of him #Tuesday night when he changed the game in #Detroit. #What he did with that opportunity, sparking the #Warriors’ 116-106 win, became the preface of a page-turning novel to come.

#We know that #Wiseman sometimes resembles a spring colt, gamboling out of the corral with nothing particular in mind, looking all of 19 in an NBA full of hardened players. #We watch him make silly mistakes, and there might even be times when the #Warriors’ draft-day decision is worth a hard look.

Then came the 6:25 mark of the fourth quarter against the #Pistons, the game very much in doubt, and #Wiseman’s biggest-yet step into manhood. #With two quick strides to the scene, he gently blocked a 7-foot shot by #Mason #Plumlee. #It was taken out of the air by #Juan #Toscano-Anderson, who flipped it to #Wiseman, who decided to complete this episode all by himself.

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#Keep in mind, #Wiseman is left-handed. #From that spot in the key, he used just a single lefty dribble on a coast-to-coast ballhandling foray that found him throwing down a violent, right-handed dunk in traffic for a 95-89 #Golden #State lead. #You thought to yourself, “How many big men do this? #All of that?” There aren’t many, and that covers the whole history of the league.

#Wiseman isn’t about to take over the NBA just now, nor do the #Warriors expect such a thing. They see him abandon basic defensive principles — don’t go for the pump fake, stay straight-up vertical when challenging certain shots — and get forced to the bench for no good reason, as he did with his sixth foul #Tuesday night with 2:53 left. They see moments where he doesn’t seem assertive, not for a player of his prodigious talent. #As the ball sometimes evades his grasp, they wonder whether his hand strength measures up to the behemoths roaming the NBA landscape.

#But then everyone realizes what legendary broadcaster #Hubie #Brown pointed out during the #Warriors’ #Christmas #Day game in #Milwaukee: “He’s 19. #No training camp. #No exhibition games. #Game two, and this young guy is playing like he’s in his backyard.”

#Amazingly, for someone known to need some work on his outside shot, #Wiseman’s accuracy has become a non-issue. #He shoots calmly and comfortably from 3-point range, and in a particularly telling sequence #Tuesday night, he found himself tightly squeezed between two defenders, each rushing toward him with hands upraised, and still managed to thread a sweet 20-footer through that narrowest of windows.

#Even as the bench went wild after #Wiseman’s game-changing dunk, and #Bay #Area television viewers shouted in amazement, the #Warriors still needed to win this game. #What followed was just as impressive, in its own way, because it was mostly about #Andrew #Wiggins.

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#As much as he’d like to be a wildly energetic player like #Kelly #Oubre #Jr. or #Marcus #Smart, #Wiggins just doesn’t have that kind of temperament. #As he recently admitted, he constantly reminds himself to “stay aggressive,” as if there’s some other way to conduct your on-court business. #That’s an ongoing issue for #Wiggins and the #Warriors to solve, but in the wake of #Wiseman’s big splash, #Wiggins canned a couple of big 3-pointers to cap off a 27-point night of full aggression.

#Other moments spoke loudly, as well. #As if #Damion #Lee didn’t properly exhibit his thirst for the big shot in #Chicago on #Sunday (a game-winning 3-pointer), he had the ball with 1:25 left, #Golden #State’s lead cut to five points — and he buried another long-range beauty. #Oubre, whose first instinct is to attack the basket and posterize somebody, must learn to find #Curry as a matter of habit if his superstar teammate is open. #Oubre did just that at the 1:09 mark, bypassing the drive with a kick-out to #Curry, who was fouled from 3-point range and (naturally) hit all three free-throw tries.

#As the scene shifts to #San #Francisco, finally, it’s difficult to say which is more awkward for the #Warriors: opening a pandemic-weighted season with four games on the road, or coming home to an empty house. #Starting #Friday night against #Portland, they will have seven consecutive games at #Chase #Center without a hint of home-court advantage. The emptiness could get downright eerie after a while.

The nature of the opposition changes dramatically, however. #How much can you learn when your first two games are against #Brooklyn and #Milwaukee, quite possibly bound for a matchup in the #Eastern #Conference finals, and then you get two of the league’s worst teams in #Chicago and #Detroit?

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#Now everything changes. The homestand’s first five games are against the #Western #Conference, including two with #Portland and two with the #Clippers as the NBA lines up a baseball-like schedule to lighten teams’ travel load.

#One thing we know for sure: #Whatever ailed the #Warriors after two games — #Sports #Illustrated’s #Michael #Rosenberg described it as “a palpable sadness” — has gone away. #James #Wiseman was afraid he had to insist.

#Bruce #Jenkins is a columnist for The #San #Francisco #Chronicle. #Email: [email protected]issfchronicle.com #Twitter: @Bruce_#Jenkins1





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##James ##Wiseman #coast #coast ##Warriors #world #changed

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