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Penny Hardaway thinks James Wiseman should be first pick in the 2020 NBA Draft

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The former NBA All-Star and current Memphis Tigers coach believes the big man has all of the tools NBA teams are looking for.

The Commercial Appeal-USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The 2020 NBA Draft doesn’t have a clear-cut favorite for who is going to go No. 1 overall.

With the Golden State Warriors holding the second selection of the draft, they will have plenty of options on what to do with the pick. It’s no secret that the Dubs have a need at center. Often-injured Kevon Looney and youngster Marquese Chriss should get some time at the 5-spot, but general manager Bob Myers will look to add another big man in the offseason.

One option for Myers is to draft a center at No. 2. USC’s Onyeka Okongwu could move up the rankings if he has impressive workouts leading up to Oct. 16, but the consensus is that Memphis center James Wiseman is the best big man available.

Wiseman only played in three games for the Memphis Tigers during his freshman year. He was suspended 12 games by the NCAA after an investigation revealed Wiseman received $11,500 from current Tigers’ head coach and former NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway.

Even though his time with the program was short, Hardaway still believes Wiseman is the best prospect available. Hardaway had this to say during his recent media availability:

“I feel like he’s the number one pick in the Draft. I think he has a high upside. He didn’t get to play this year. There are question marks, but he works his butt off, man. He’s a unicorn, that’s what he calls himself. He’s rare. He’s a guy that he’s gonna be the fastest up and down the floor, and protect the rim. He’s definitely an instant-assist under the rim because of his athleticism. He’s going to work on getting his shot, to where he can get out to the 3-point line and be a threat from out there as well. I’m not just saying that because I coached him, I just know the NBA and what they’re looking for. So to me, he’s the number one pick overall, and that’s Minnesota. Him and Karl-Anthony Towns, they could work really well together. They would be unbelievable two-some with the way the league is going now. They’re both mobile, they’re both active. I think that will be a difference-maker having two rim-protectors and guys that are highly, highly skilled on the perimeter.”

Wiseman averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game over the three games. To fulfill his NBA potential he will need to improve his outside shooting and overall shot-selection. Wiseman tends to force things, especially from the post. He will be one of the fastest centers in the league, and his athleticism will make him a force around the rim.

Defensively, Wiseman has all of the tools to develop into one of the best rim-protectors in the NBA, but he needs to sharpen up his awareness. His help-side defense needs to be better, and he tends to lose where the play is developing by keying too much on his man.

Golden State will get a clear look at Wiseman during the virtual workouts leading up to the draft. Even though Hardaway is advocating for it, I don’t see Wiseman as a good fit next to Towns. Having two big men on the floor is a rarity in today’s NBA where spacing is at a premium, so I believe Wiseman will be available at No. 2.


On to some links:

The Dubs will also explore the trade market for the second pick of the draft. One target who could be available this offseason is Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. (The Mercury News)

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James moved up to No. 3 in all-time 3-pointers made in the playoffs. He passed Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who had some fun with the King on Instagram. (NBC Bay Area)

If the Warriors don’t add another big man, they go with Draymond Green at the 5 to finish games. Fandsided’s Tony Pesta suggests the Dubs replicate the Houston Rockets’ approach.