The Golden State Warriors did what was necessary when they drafted James Wiseman over LaMelo Ball in the 2020 NBA Draft, despite criticisms that they’ve recently received after their first matchup against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night. The Warriors’ rookie was out during this matchup and was unable to show his talent in a matchup against his draft classmate.
As the season approaches the halfway mark, Ball appears to be leading in the Rookie of the Year race. However, Warriors’ rookie James Wiseman is still in the running.
The Warriors Made the Best Choice for Them
The debate has only begun as people are asking the question: should the Warriors have taken Ball instead with the No. 2 pick in the draft?
If the top three picks of the 2020 NBA Draft could go back and do it again, surely it would look a lot different. Teams with these top spots were the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Warriors, and the Charlotte Hornets.
The Timberwolves went with Anthony Edwards No. 1 overall. The Warriors snagged James Wiseman with the next pick and the Hornets followed with LaMelo Ball. As of now, some think that the Warriors made the wrong pick by drafting Wiseman over Ball, however, this pick still makes the most sense, in addition to their limited cap space.
The team has Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green all on high-salary contracts. Free agency had to be tough for the team in terms of having the ability to sign other talented free agents. So, in order to bring in a blockbuster player, trading one of these three would be a must, and they all are most likely off-limits.
During the offseason, the Warriors were able to obtain Kent Bazemore and Kelly Oubre Jr. to help the team despite Thompson’s injury. Now with their backcourt looking healthy and full of shooters like Damion Lee and Jordan Poole, it seems that what they were missing was indeed James Wiseman, who entered the season as Golden State’s sole true center.
The Debate is Only Beginning
While Ball has done nothing but dominate over in Charlotte, Wiseman has also had a somewhat impressive rookie season thus far. The 7-foot-1 center is averaging 12.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He’s also managing to shoot over 50 percent from the field. Although Wiseman has experienced some issues getting acclimated in the league, he is steadily progressing and even playing better after losing his starting position. He even endured an injury that had him out for a period of time this season which has affected his ability to play efficiently just recently.
Before the draft, there was not much evidence that showed that Ball was in fact a more impressive player to justify the Warriors drafting him over Wiseman at a position that the Warriors needed to fill.
It seems that the Warriors and the Timberwolves have been receiving a fair amount of criticism for not acquiring Ball. The Hornets’ rookie is averaging 14.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game.
Ball is already being deemed a “star” at the age of 19. The argument had always been that he had the most star potential of anyone in his draft class, it was just a matter of how long it would take to see it. However, it’s still pretty early in the season, and while Ball seems to be leading as a Rookie of the Year candidate, things could look different for Wiseman as the season progresses.