The 2020 NBA Draft was a bag of mixed emotions for the Golden State Warriors. Just hours before the Dubs were going to make the second overall selection, word came out that superstar guard Klay Thompson suffered a severe injury to his right leg during a pickup game in Los Angeles.
We wondered if this would change general manager Bob Myers’ plans with the No. 2 pick, but we got our answer less than 15 minutes after the draft began. The Warriors went with the player they have been linked to most throughout the draft process, picking Memphis center James Wiseman.
Wiseman brings precisely what Golden State needs. He’s young, athletic and gives the Dubs the center they have been missing for years. He fills an immediate need at center and should develop into one of the best rim-protectors in the NBA.
The Dubs used their pair of second-round picks on Arizona point guard Nico Mannion (No. 48) and Justinian Jessup (No. 51).
Here is how we graded the Warriors’ 2020 NBA Draft:
Brady Klopfer: I keep waffling on how I feel about the Wiseman selection. I’ve been very low on him in the past, and simply didn’t think he was a player that the Warriors would be interested in. That makes me want to give them a bad grade.
But they were interested in him, clearly, which makes me think I’m just not seeing it, and that leads to me appealing to authority, and wanting to give a good grade.
Ultimately, I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. I question whether Wiseman can make the right reads and decisions fast enough to keep up with the Warriors offense. I would not be comfortable betting money that he’ll be better than Marquese Chriss this year, or even next year. The Damian Jones comparisons aren’t fair, since he has loads more talent than Jones, but then again, a lack of talent wasn’t what kept Jones from finding success with the Dubs.
But Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Steve Kerr clearly like him, and the Warriors are in a position where they can afford to take the perfect positional fit and risk it not working out. It’s not like there were surefire players behind him. And I’m already salivating at the thought of Curry tossing lobs to Wiseman, as he viciously dunks on a helpless center.
As for the second round, I like what the Warriors did. I expected a trade, but instead they went for a draft and stash with their final pick. I think Mannion, with his playmaking, has a chance to take Ky Bowman’s spot as the deep bench point guard option.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we look back on this draft as a key part of building a title for the Warriors, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we look back on it as a total bust.
Jas Kang: We heard for months that the Warriors were leaning towards selecting Wiseman. Despite all of the smokescreens, they ended up doing just that. The organization found a player that should be in a Dubs uniform for a long time and whose skills are perfect for the modern NBA, especially on a Golden State team that plays fast. Wiseman’s ability to get up-and-down the floor is all-world for a big man. He will finish everything around the rim and alter the opposing team’s shots on the defensive end. It will be interesting to see how Wiseman’s offensive game grows in the NBA, but we should get a better idea of his ceiling as a scorer as the season wears on. As for the second-round picks, the Warriors hope either Mannion or Jessup can turn into a Draymond Green/Eric Paschall type selection. Mannion has great ball skills, but will need to improve his shooting, something that should happen working with Stephen Curry in practice every day. While Jessup is a major project that will need a ton of development to be an impact player.
Of course, draft night was marred by the Thompson injury. The anticipation of finally hearing some Warriors-related basketball news became dread once word broke that Klay went down. I’m bullish on Wiseman’s future with the team, but the dark cloud of Thompson’s injury will be hard to overcome during the next few days.
Grade: A (but Klay’s injury makes it feel like a C-)
How would you grade the Warriors draft?
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