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Warriors NBA Draft: James Wiseman gives Dubs exactly what they need

Golden State went with the prospect who checks the most boxes for the franchise.

Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

After months of speculation, we finally got our answer. There was no blockbuster deal, no trade down or acquisition involving a veteran.

The Golden State Warriors selected Memphis big man James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick at the 2020 NBA Draft. Wiseman is an excellent fit for the Dubs both in the short-term and well into the future.

The 19 year old’s sample size is small, playing in just three games with the Tigers last season. He averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3 blocks per contest. His per-40 minutes numbers are eye-popping at 34.2 points and 18.6 rebounds, and he had a ridiculous +69.8 net rating over his very brief college career.

I asked Wiseman how he sees himself fitting with the Warriors during his media availability following the pick.

“Just come in there and just learn as much as possible, they have great vets in Stephen Curry, you got Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss, a lot of great players on the team,” Wiseman said. “I want to fit my role, stay humble and try to be coachable, which I am. Just go in there and work hard, play hard. Really like the fit and the position that I am in is a great one for me.”

Golden State needed an infusion of athleticism and youth to a roster that features three All-Stars who are on the wrong side of 30. The 7’1 Wiseman — who has a 7’6 wingspan — gives the Dubs both of those in abundance.

With the Warriors finishing in the bottom-10 in both shot-blocking and rebounding last season, general manager Bob Myers needed to address both weaknesses, which is why Wiseman makes the most sense.

He should come in and contribute right away, which becomes even more critical considering Klay Thompson’s injury. Even though Wiseman hasn’t played in a game in nearly a calendar year, he’s confident playing for two coaches who played in the pros has him ready for the next level.

“I’ve been watching concepts,” Wiseman said. “Being coached by Penny Hardaway and Mike Miller, I was already in an NBA system.”

Wiseman’s ceiling is among the highest of any of the prospects in the 2020 class. On the offensive end, Wiseman is an elite finisher around the rim and will be useful in the pick-and-roll because of his raw athleticism and ability to score in the paint. He runs the floor like a gazelle and could flourish in the fast-paced Warriors’ offense. The big man isn’t great at creating for teammates at this stage of his career, but playing with high-level talent means he won’t need to have the ball in his hands a ton.

Defensively, Wiseman has all of the tools you look for in a shot-blocker and prolific rebounder. He will alter shots in the paint and give the Dubs a sturdy option on the defense’s backline.

Wiseman already has some familiarity with Curry as well, and is excited about playing alongside the two-time NBA MVP.

“I have a great relationship with Steph. Obviously, I went to his camp [during his high school days],” Wiseman said. “He taught me a lot about the game of basketball, gave me a lot of information. That’s my guy.”

We should get to see just how much Wiseman has learned when the NBA season tips off just over a month from now.

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