Draft Preview: James Wiseman

 

James Wiseman is an almost no-brainer top 3 pick in this year’s NBA Draft. As a rangy 7 footer with excellent speed and agility, he figures to be an asset wherever he lands. There are some interesting takeaways from his game, however.

Despite having the size and frame of a center, Wiseman’s game more closely resembles that of a hybrid power forward/small forward. Wiseman has a soft touch on his jump shot approximately 15 to 20 feet from the basket. A necessity for him as he clearly lacks a variety of moves in the low post – a liability for a post player in the NBA.

His length and excellent timing make him an excellent weak side defender, erasing shots into oblivion when least expected.  Conversely, he does have some bad habits defensively – fouling unnecessarily and not maintaining his ground when guarding his man. These are weaknesses that can largely be attributed to the folly of youth, however.

Wiseman’s intriguing upside should not be mistaken for being NBA ready. The raw talent and potential for growth aside, Wiseman lacks the polish to help a team with championship aspirations be successful immediately. This means, should he be drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the 2nd pick, they may be best served gradually reducing his minutes as the season progresses.

Much like fellow prospect, LaMelo Ball, Wiseman does not have much of a playing career beyond high school to analyze. Limited sample sizes bring inherent risk, regardless of the player’s potential. Drafting Wiseman means being as comfortable with his floor as you are with his ceiling. In Wiseman’s case – left-handed big men that can run the floor well with explosive leaping ability and great length – do not simply grow on trees.

This means that his floor is approximately in the neighborhood of Mitchell Robinson with a ceiling that resembles Tyson Chandler. Figuring that James Wiseman’s particular skillset may not be needed nor a great fit in Minnesota, and that the Warriors have no need for LaMelo Ball, Wiseman to Golden State does seem the most likely and prudent landing spot for the former Tiger.

To briefly recap what James Wiseman is bringing to the table:

Pros:

  • Long, rangy defender
  • Athletic
  • Great finisher around the rim
  • Nice shooting touch for his size
  • Excellent speed and agility for position

 

Cons:

  • Limited offensive arsenal
  • Lacks discipline on defense
  • Will likely never be a game changer/limited upside

 

With 2020 being a down year for the draft in terms of depth, James Wiseman will be a solid pick-up for any team looking for an athletic finisher that will not hurt the team more than he helps.

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