Wiseman revealed to reporters Monday in his video conference that he regularly speaks with Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, whose three seasons in the Bay Area included three trips to the NBA Finals, two championships and two Finals MVP awards.
Not that you, Wiseman nor Durant would need a reminder.
“I talk to KD every day,” Wiseman said. “We talk about the system, how he was able to fit into the system here, and he just gives me a lot of advice and, really, just a lot more players around the league give me a lot of great advice.”
Durant was a Warrior and Wiseman was a rising high-school senior when the two first met in 2018. Not far removed from his second NBA Finals MVP award in as many years, Durant provided advice and encouragement to Wiseman and future Illinois star Kofi Cockburn in a video for Overtime.
But Durant, most critically, offered his ear, too, telling the prospects they had the potential to reach the NBA and that they could reach out to him at any time.
“What I see from watching you play, your motor gotta be on every time you come down the court, ‘cuz you’re bigger than everybody, and you more athletic and more skilled,” Durant told Wiseman. “They gotta see that s–t every time you come down the court.
“Blocking shots, rebounding the ball, play with tenacity, finishing, running the court, you know what I’m saying? That’s what make you a beast. … You gotta put fear in these dudes ‘cuz you big, you know what I’m saying?”
Fast-forward nearly three years, and Wiseman has already played against Durant twice. Wiseman said he also received great advice from one of Durant’s current teammates after those matchups.
“I’d say Kyrie Irving,” Wiseman said when asked which opposing veteran gave him the best advice. “[He] told me in order to separate myself from my class I have to have the effort, and to keep putting in the work. Just keep putting in more [hours] and stuff into my craft, and just working hard every day.”
Durant and Irving both carried a franchise’s expectations on their shoulders as teenagers, and Irving’s experience, in particular, seems particularly applicable to Wiseman, considering the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted the point guard not even a year after LeBron James took his talents to South Beach and joined the Miami Heat. Wiseman, similarly, is viewed as the successor to the Warriors’ championship core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
While Durant certainly couldn’t have known that Wiseman would eventually become a Warrior, he still somehow prepared the big man for the experience during their initial conversation.
“That’s the shot y’all both need to start shooting,” Durant told Wiseman and Cockburn at the time about expanding their range to 15 feet. “When you playing in the league now, you’re gonna start picking and rolling, and you’re gonna be playing with a [Russell] Westbrook, or Steph Curry, or Kyrie Irving. … You’re not gonna get all the attention on these pick and rolls. You’re gonna have to pop into a spot, and knock that ‘J’ down.”
No wonder Wiseman still listens to him.