James Wiseman puts on dunking display in Warriors preseason opener in Japan


James Wiseman announced his return to the Warriors in eye-opening fashion early Friday morning.

If you stayed up til 3 a.m. PT for the tip-off, you got a treat as Golden State opened up its preseason with an exhibition matchup against the Washington Wizards in Saitama, Japan. Wiseman, in his first game action with the Warriors since April 10, 2021, put on a dunking display while leading the Dubs in points (20) and rebounds (9) in a 96-87 victory.

Live On-Air
Ask Your Smart Speaker to Play 95 7 The Game
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing

Of his five dunks on the night, none were sweeter than his one-handed poster on Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis.

You loved to see Wiseman running the floor and exploding above the rim. The former No. 2 overall pick showed flashes like this during his roller coaster rookie season.

As Wiseman enters Year 3 of his NBA career with just 39 games under his belt, the franchise is hoping he can start by doing the dirty work like rebounding and protecting the rim. As he showed Friday morning, he’s a tough lob threat to stop once he gets airborne. Check out this connection with Steph Curry:

Wiseman also threw down a couple more dunks on the night, as he finished 8-of-11 from the floor, 4-of-6 from the line with three turnovers. He finished with a game-high +14 in 24 minutes of action.

Wiseman was remarkably efficient and 10 of his 11 field goal attempts came in the paint. He had a tendency to fall in love with his jumper as a rookie, but sank his only jumper of the morning Friday, a 14-footer.

"He just has a better sense of the NBA game now compared to where he was," Kerr said after the game, via C.J. Holmes of the San Francisco Chronicle. "To see him rewarded in the first preseason game was fantastic."

If Wiseman can stay healthy and produce anything close to his Friday morning performance during the regular season, it’d be a massive boon for the Dubs. It’s not often the reigning champs add an athletic, 21-year-old 7-footer essentially out of thin air, given how much the squad has changed since he last played.

The closest Wiseman got to the NBA during his lengthy rehab was the G League, where he appeared in three games this March before the team shut him down for the season.

The Dubs have an embarrassment of riches it seems.

Start with the championship core of Steph, Klay Thompson (who will miss both of the Japan games due to caution from injury), Draymond Green, Kevon Looney and Andre Iguodala. Then you got Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins, along with free-agent signees Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green. Wiseman is older than Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, who oozed potential in their rookie seasons last year.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports