The Golden State Warriors benched rookie star James Wiseman for the first 3 quarters of Thursday night's game for blowing off a mandatory COVID test during the All-Star break.
The team has said 19-year-old Wiseman -- the #2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft -- simply "forgot" to show up to the team facility for testing ... a big no-no in the COVID-conscious NBA.
Wiseman was forced to miss practice on Wednesday due to COVID protocols but was eligible to get back on the court Thursday for the team's first game after the All-Star break.
But, Wiseman rode the pine for the first 3 quarters as the Warriors took on the L.A. Clippers -- presumably as a punishment for missing his COVID test.
He finally entered the game in the 4th quarter and balled out -- dropping 14 points and 7 rebounds in 12 minutes ... making 6 out of his 7 shots. The Warriors ultimately lost 130 to 104.
After the game, Wiseman talked about the incident -- and took full responsibility.
"I made a huge mistake and I most definitely will not do that again. I made sure I apologized to Coach. I was mad, so I had to make sure I just went out there and played hard."
Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr said the rookie had to be more responsible, but he liked how Wiseman responded after being benched.
Steve Kerr on the James Wiseman benching:"This is all part of development as a young player. You gotta take care of your business." pic.twitter.com/uxYbb9dB8b— KNBR (@KNBR) March 12, 2021
Steve Kerr on the James Wiseman benching:"This is all part of development as a young player. You gotta take care of your business." pic.twitter.com/uxYbb9dB8b
"You’ve got to take care of your business. Everything matters. He responded exactly as I had hoped he would. He competed with energy and that bodes well."
Warriors superstar Stephen Curry had some advice for the rookie after the game -- "There are learning curves for everybody in this league."
"The quicker you learn those things and just make it about basketball, the better."