James Wiseman wants to be star, and some of the most prominent voices within the Golden State Warriors believe he still has the chance to truly shine at basketball's highest level.

The third-year big man flashed that ultimate potential during one third quarter possession against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night in his team's preseason opener, facing up from the left block before driving middle then quickly pivoting back to the baseline for a smooth hook off the glass.

Maybe that type of self-creation really could be in the cards for Wiseman.

He's only 21, completing his first training camp after entering the league during the COVID-shortened season and missing all of 2021-22 due to a nagging right knee injury.  The mouth-watering blend of size, run-jump explosiveness and nascent skill with the ball that made Wiseman the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft—even if it's clear by now Golden State erred by taking him ahead of LaMelo Ball—still exists.

But Wiseman's role with the defending champions in 2022-23 won't include many reps preparing him for that long-shot destiny.

Steve Kerr made clear before preseason tipped off that Wiseman in firmly entrenched as a backup behind Kevon Looney, his on-court development rooted more in the team context than hopes of individual stardom. Catching lobs, rim-running in transition and setting screens on and off the ball will be Wiseman's focus offensively. He's nowhere near ready to play the part of a primary scorer, and the Warriors much prefer their beautiful game to isolation basketball anyway.

Live and breathe the NBA?

🚨 Get viral NBA graphics, memes, rumors and trending news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

It's that overall dynamic which makes Wiseman's burgeoning pick-and-roll partnership with Jordan Poole so intriguing.

“James has gotten much better this preseason in terms of his spacing and his awareness of when to dive, when to be in the dunker spot, when to come up and set a step-up. All those things are really based on timing and awareness,” Steve Kerr said following Sunday's game. “Given that this was his first training camp it makes a lot of sense that he's seeing those things better and recognizing them.”

Poole's mind-blowing display of shot-making prowess and playmaking ingenuity in wake of Draymond Green's punch to his left jaw was the biggest story from Golden State's exhibition home opener. Who was Poole's screener for the majority of his third-quarter explosion? Wiseman, consistently freeing him for pull-up jumpers and forays to the rim with the refined pick-and-roll decision-making Kerr referenced after the game.

James Wiseman showed off his increased understanding of timing and angles in ball-screen action earlier in the night, too.

On these possessions from the second quarter, watch how Wiseman flips his picks in concert with Poole manipulating the primary defender, affording his teammate ample space to create. Wiseman's also gotten much better at keeping himself available as a roller, exhibiting far more patience than in seasons past.

Poole and Wiseman's two-man dance didn't only come at the top of the floor.

In the first quarter, they spammed empty-corner ball screens early in the shot clock, forcing Los Angeles to commit an extra defender to the strong side of the floor or risk Poole and Wiseman making use of a winning numbers game. Wiseman sets four picks in total on these consecutive possessions, best conveying his growing comfort offensively on the Warriors' second trip, flipping back into a dribble hand-off with Poole before finding space for a short pick-and-pop jumper.

Everything you see in the clips above was supported by Wiseman's post-game assessment of his flourishing synergy with Poole as pick-and-roll partners.

“It's great. We just been watching film,” he said. “We always communicate to each other like if I do wrong on a screen, he tells me to flip it. Just whatever that he want to do scoring, then me to be able to get off the ball fast. We just communicate different stuff like that to just make each other better, so we're just always a student of the game.”

Even when the Lakers stymied that action, though, James Wiseman still made sure to operate within the flow of Golden State's offensive system.

No team posts to pass more than the Warriors, but unlike Green and Looney, Wiseman has the tools to actually make a play for himself when the defense thwarts that initial plan of attack. Again, facing up should be his default as a post player until further notice, exploiting the quickness advantage he possesses over the majority of opposing bigs.

James Wiseman talked all offseason about keeping a close eye on Looney last year, learning the grunt work that helped the latter cement himself as a team fixture during Golden State's title run. Expounding on those remarks Sunday night, it's clear Wiseman has accepted the supporting role that will ensure he helps the Warriors most—at least until he's ready to do more down the line.

“I've been studying Loon all season last year. Just the correlation between that is like, less is more for me,” he said. “I don't gotta do as much. Just keep it simple, and just do the stuff so my team can win, just impact the game in small ways. The small things make the big things happen, so I just gotta make sure I focus on the small things.”

So far, so good.