The Golden State Warriors were in an unexpected position before the 2020 NBA Draft. They were anticipating the return of their two-time MVP Steph Curry and their All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson to pair with their former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green and their latest acquisition, former #1 overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft Andrew Wiggins.
By all accounts, the team had the ingredients to make a title run during the 2020-21 NBA season. Then the unfortunate happened and Thompson tore his right Achilles merely hours before the draft was set to begin.
While the news of Thompson’s injury does hurt the team’s title chances, they were able to look at the bright side of things as they drafted former Memphis Tigers center James Wiseman with the #2 overall selection. Wiseman is going to be an integral part of the team’s success this season as he gives the team a young, budding, and potential reliable interior presence on the defensive end.
Not to mention, he also has a skill set that some have compared to a young David Robinson and Chris Bosh. While Wiseman, and Green, have been out of practice this past week due to testing positive for coronavirus, that same skillset he posses he’s worked on expanding to the three-point arc since joining the team.
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Stepping Back 22-Feet
Wiseman has been lauded for his offensive repertoire as a prep player and even during his brief time playing for the Memphis Tigers. Those talents will be utilized as he matures within the NBA but for now, he’s looking to improve his three-point shot in order to be a major contributor for the team immediately.
Adding a center of Wiseman’s caliber to the Warriors mix already feels as if the Warriors are using a cheat code, or playing NBA 2K21 with the sliders all the way up. And I’m not alone in feeling this. Wiseman’s collegiate coach and former NBA star, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway previously stated he knows the Warriors would be the best fit for Wiseman to unlock his potential.
He can easily keep up with the game and the pace. He’s very athletic, very fast. He’d instantly be one of the better rim runners in the league. He’s also a rim protector; he is going to protect the rim. His skill set is good enough now, and it’s going to get better, especially because he’d be playing with veterans like Draymond, Klay and Steph.
Also, he can space (his shot) out to the 3. He’s been working on his jump shot and his understanding of studying film and what a team wants and needs. In their system, with those guys, he would be spectacular.
How Head Coach Steve Kerr Sees It
Golden State knows Wiseman will be a key contributor this season but for now, is taking things slowly. Not being able to have the rookie in for full practices with the team means he’ll have to learn more on the fly but, similar to his teammate Andrew Wiggins, this may be one of the best organization to learn on the fly from without the expectation of having to be a marquee player night in and night out.
The Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr spoke about what Wiseman was able to do with the team given his current health status.
He did some of that before practice started — very limited and light. This is just the early stages of him being able to get back out on the court. We’re just following the protocols. He got a few shots up, but that’s about it.
A few shots may be all Wiseman can currently do as it’s likely he’ll probably miss the entire preseason with the team. Even with this, if Wiseman maintains his current mindset of working on his weaknesses to improve his game he could become a Top 5 big man and make the rest of the league feel like the Warriors put the sliders up.