Detroit Pistons: James Wiseman Impressive in Debut
Did you expect James Wiseman to lead the bench in minutes, rebounds and scoring in his Detroit Pistons debut? Wiseman impressed with 11 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes. And more importantly, opportunity and good health seem to be all that is needed to “unlock” the 7-foot versatile big.
Despite signs of obvious rust, James Wiseman was decisive, versatile and direct against the Boston Celtics Wednesday night. He looked more like the draft day profiles that rated him as a top lottery pick. “I saw him just getting back to himself, and knocking off some rust,” Isaiah Stewart said. “He looked like the Wiseman I saw in high school.”
It should excite Pistons fans to know Wiseman can contribute now, rather than be considered a reclamation project. “He wants to score and believes he can… he was active and not bashful,” said Greg kelser of Bally Sports Detroit.
Wiseman showed the ability to score in multiple ways including back to the basket, mid range and hook shots. He easily vanquished the double team on one possession, as he was defended by the 7’2″ Luke Kornet and the scrappy Grant Williams. He was a big target for the guards as well, who found him multiple times as they drove the lane. For as tough as Isaiah Stewart is, at times he’s unable to cleanly catch similar passes and it takes more effort for him to score in the paint.
The play that stood out the most was on a scramble for a loose ball on the offensive end for the Pistons. Wiseman hustled after it, snatched it away from a Celtic player and turned to comfortably make a mid range jumper.
No hitch, no second though, no uncomfortable shooting motions or clank at the rim. It ended in just a swish through the net, and a look of ‘Oh I do this’ as he ran back down the court.
What to Improve On?
Though I’d like to see more on the boards, his 7-foot frame helped him grab rebounds the shorter Stewart misses out on at times. But rebounding is a big need that Wiseman may be able to fill. He hasn’t put up big rebounding averages, but if put in the right position should be more than capable.
Pistons GM Troy Weaver spoke about rebounding being an area the Pistons must improve. “We haven’t beaten those teams (teams with size advantages) yet and if you look at these games, we’ve usually struggled on the glass,” he said”
And the hope is Wiseman can help, with the correct schemes, game plan and thinking outside the box. “You have to be willing to give it a try and come up with schemes and solutions to maximize those guys,” weaver said when talking about Wiseman.
I’ll let Jimmy Wise speak in his own words on his defensive presence: “I can do better. My wind kind of got to me a little bit. But I’m gonna do way better once I get my conditioning up.”
Now, that’s what I call clued in. I believed there were a few plays he could’ve challenged better, but I thought he just looked tired. He showed defensive IQ in knowing where to be on the court, but at times appeared to run out of gas. It still proved promising and didn’t escape the eye of coach Dwane Casey, “His length, his size… Even if he didn’t block shots, he was there.”
Dwane Casey said what most observers picked up on about Wiseman after the game. He needs to get into game shape. “He’s going to be a fit for us… once he gets his conditioning up to speed, he’ll be a big contributor,” he said. The Golden State Warriors admitted Wiseman being buried on the bench was more about opportunity, time and fit, than a lack of skill.
So expect conditioning to be up and down while Wiseman works back into playing shape. But something tells me, we wont have to wait too long to see positive results.
The Pistons plays the Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic, Wednesday, February 23rd at 7:00 PM.
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