Missed tests caused the 19-year-old Sage to miss practice in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
I won’t go into the details, but that’s part of the development of a young player, Kerr said in a video conference with reporters after the game. You should mind your own business. Everything is important. It was just a reaction to him missing a test and not being able to practice last night. It hurts us. And that’s why he didn’t play in the first half. I won’t go into details because it’s a personal team thing, but that was the reason.
Kerr acknowledged Wednesday that he was disappointed Wiseman missed the first test, but said he could play Thursday after some uncertainty about his status.
For his part, Wiseman took responsibility for the missed tests and said he had spoken with veterans Stephen Curry and Draymond Green about the incident.
I make mistakes, Wiseman said. I’m human and I completely forgot about the first two days of the COVID test. I’ve been checking it for the last two days. … I made a big mistake, but I definitely won’t do it again because I just have to make sure I stay disciplined. … I apologized to the coach and told him I wouldn’t do it again, and that I would be careful with those little things, but I had to do it.
Wiseman, the second pick in last year’s draft, has been repeatedly praised by Kerr and his Warriors teammates for his performance and has consistently tried to improve, but Wiseman’s season has been full of ups and downs. He missed most of training camp due to KOVID-19 protocols and missed nearly a month after suffering a wrist injury. His play was sporadic as he tried to become familiar with the NBA game.
Kerr said he hopes Wiseman learns from his recent setback.
You have to prove it in this league, Kerr said. If you want to be Steph or Draymond, you have to do what those guys did. And you know what? Both guys sat on the bench like greenhorns. These two guys had to fight. So even superstar players have to make a living in this league. So it’s part of the deal for everyone. So it’s pretty simple.
Kerr defended himself against the idea that Wiseman, who admitted in the first half after last Thursday’s finale in Phoenix that his rookie campaign has not been easy, could fall further into doubt after his replacement Thursday.
I disagree, Kerr said. He’s an incredibly talented 19-year-old in his first year. He plays very well. Played in three games for the College. If you look at the history of this league and you pick guys like Kobe [Bryant] or Anthony Davis or, I don’t know, any of the many rookies that have become great players, it’s a struggle. In the history of this league, there are very few rookies who are ready to play, especially in the modern era where guys don’t go to school and prepare for the NBA for several years.
So James is doing fine, are you crazy? Everything he goes through are the normal ups and downs that a 19-year-old player goes through in the NBA. He’s playing against guys right now, but if you look at some of his performances, if you look at how he reacted tonight in the fourth quarter and what he’s capable of and what kind of person he is, I have no doubt that James is going to be a great, great player.
Kerr said he was pleased that when Wiseman finally got into the game in the fourth quarter, he responded well, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds in 12 minutes.
He’s been great, Kerr said. He reacted exactly as I had hoped. He seemed a little angry, but he fought and played with good energy, which is a good omen. He’ll be back for the next game.
The Warriors believe Sage still has a lot to live up to. Despite the rookie’s frustration with his mistakes during the test, Kerry believes Wiseman will improve after his mistake.
I’m sure he wasn’t happy about that, Curry said. In the end, I hope it won’t be something that sticks to the story or the story around it. He’s still only a freshman, the second choice, so anything disciplinary or otherwise significant will be a topic of conversation. But he came in the fourth quarter and played well, he was aggressive. I’m sure his minutes will be different on Sunday, and I hope he plays well.
Thursday’s loss marked the first time this season the Warriors have lost four consecutive games. Turner Sports cameras saw Curry emerge in the third quarter to yell at and motivate his teammates – an unusual move for Curry, given his usual calm demeanor on the court.
He also noted the frustration of the team during the period of loss.
It’s always about what’s happening in the moment, Curry said. It’s only basketball. We tried in many ways to bring the league spirit and leadership, but today was a chance to set the tone for the second half of the season, and we clearly didn’t. And we have to do something to bring that to the next game.