NBA

Wiseman shines as Warriors beat Wizards in Japan, but Hachimura the star attraction

By Sports Desk September 30, 2022

The Golden State Warriors began their pre-season with a 96-87 win against the Washington Wizards in Saitama, Japan thanks to an impressive showing from James Wiseman.

A sold-out Saitama Super Arena watched on as Wiseman top-scored with 20 points from almost 24 minutes on the court.

However, it was understandably Japan's own Rui Hachimura who garnered the most noise from an adoring crowd, registering 13 points for the Wizards and, like Wiseman, a game-high nine rebounds.

After the game, coach of the defending NBA champion Warriors Steve Kerr conceded it had not been the highest-quality contest due to it being so early in pre-season, but told reporters how pleased he was with Wiseman's performance.

"James has had a really good few days of practice," he said of the 21-year-old. "His understanding of spacing and defensive communication, being in the right place, he just has a much better sense of the NBA game now than he did a couple of years ago.

"He's been putting a ton of work in, last year despite injury, he was studying and watching tape and learning from our older guys, so I couldn't be happier for James."

Kerr referenced the "really good atmosphere" and also spoke about the adulation received by Washington's Hachimura, and the potential benefits for the NBA's global appeal as a result.

"You see how popular he is," he said. "When he spoke to the crowd they went crazy, and it was a great moment.

"The game has been a global one for a long time but the more international stars we can get, the more popular the game becomes in that particular player's country, so hopefully we'll have more and more players coming from Japan to the NBA.

"You can see it's a basketball-crazed country, people love it here and it's fun to be a part of."

A second game between the two teams in Saitama will be played on Sunday.

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