The James Wiseman whirlwind tour plays The Windy City on Sunday night when the Golden State Warriors and host Chicago Bulls each attempt to end winless starts to the NBA season.
Wiseman, the second pick of the November draft, has lived up to his high school clippings with 19 and 18 points in his first two NBA games.
Only five players in Warriors history have begun a career with more than 37 points in their first two games, an impressive list topped by Wilt Chamberlain’s 79 points in 1959.
Wiseman’s start has been all the more impressive in that it’s come on the road against two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference — Brooklyn and Milwaukee.
And it’s come after the consensus top player in the prep Class of 2019 got into just three college games at Memphis last season before quitting the team rather than sit out a lengthy suspension.
The 19-year-old has received little help from his new teammates, but that could change in Chicago, with Draymond Green a game-time decision after sitting out the 125-99 loss at Brooklyn and 138-99 defeat at Milwaukee with a strained right foot.
Green said Saturday that his foot feels good. His only concern is being a bit out of shape after missing most of training camp after a positive coronavirus test.
“Just got to get my wind back,” he said before acknowledging that a pregame powwow with coach Steve Kerr and conditioning coach Rick Celebrini will determine his status for the Chicago game. “My body feels amazing. For the most part, I feel great.”
The Warriors have been far worse defending 3-pointers than making them, having watched the Nets connect on 42.9 percent and then the Bucks 54.1 percent.
Meanwhile, the Bulls have struggled mostly inside the arc on defense. They saw the Atlanta Hawks explode for 83 points in the first two periods and shoot 53.8 percent overall in a 124-104 win, then the Indiana Pacers run up a combined 72 points in the middle two periods and connect on 55.9 percent overall in a 125-106 triumph.
The latter took place on Saturday night, meaning the Bulls will have the unenviable task of dealing with a back-to-back on Sunday while the Warriors have enjoyed the last two days off.
The good news for Chicago: They’ve been home all season, while the Warriors have been on the road.
The Bulls’ prize rookie, Patrick Williams, has had the advantage of tipping off his NBA career at home. He put on a nice show with 16 points in his debut against Atlanta, but then was held to nine by the Pacers.
The 19-year-old, who was taken two spots after Wiseman, realizes he’s a work in progress.
“It’s an experience that I’ll never forget,” he said of opening night. “I just have so much more to get better at, and as the season goes on, I’ll get better.”
The Bulls welcomed back Tomas Satoransky and Garrett Temple on Saturday after they’d been forced to sit out the opener due to COVID-19 concerns. The veterans combined for 12 points and 11 assists off the bench.
–Field Level Media