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Igoudala's texts to Wiseman explain all you need to know about the importance of veteran leadership


While his draft classmates are taking the NBA world by storm in their sophomore seasons, James Wiseman has spent most of the year recovering from knee surgery after a rather stellar rookie season that was unfortunately cut short due to injury. However, this doesn't mean that James is merely trying to return to his previous form. The young center from Memphis is working on the mental aspect of his game just as much as the physical, thanks to one of the game's best, Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala.

"You're not just soaking up the game right now, but you're soaking up the history of the game, and that's a part of being a master at your craft. You got to know the history of it, and you have to have respect for every era."

Andre Igoudala, SI

What separates the game's greatest players is not just how many hours they spend on the court but what they do with their time when away from it. We have all heard about how guys like Rajon Rondo, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James study film, taking in knowledge they can apply to in-game situations. But, as Howard Beck explains in his piece on the Warriors, Iggy is trying to instill this habit in the talented Wiseman at a very early age.

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"Every so often, Wiseman's phone will buzz with the ghosts of Big Men Past: Hakeem Olajuwon, Arvydas Sabonis, Chris Webber, Rik Smits, Vlade Divac. They arrive in grainy YouTube clips, via text messages from Andre Iguodala."

Howard Beck, SI

Wiseman's peers might be playing right now and learning in "trial-by-fire" fashion as the leaders of their respective teams, but James has a unique opportunity here with the Warriors to fast track his development as a player simply by being around some of the greatest to ever do it. With his natural gifts, James doesn't necessarily need to be thrown in the fire right away to reach his potential.

Wiseman has the opportunity to grow into his body and his game, but as with many big men, it takes a little bit more time to adjust to the NBA game than when you're a guard. James is on the right track, though, and if he continues to be a sponge, he can still have a better career than LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards when it's all said and done.

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