As hyped as I am that the Golden State Warriors have their first winning record of the 2023-2024 season and that the Chris Paul experiment is off to a roaring start, I can’t lie: I’m still keeping tabs on Golden State’s former #2 overall pick James Wiseman.
I was a huge fan of the draft pick, and even interviewed his trainer David Alexander after that 2020 draft. He assured me that Wiseman would be Rookie of the Year and a future Hall of Famer, and Wiseman absolutely showed flashes.
Unfortunately, Wiseman was waylaid by injury, Covid, a pandemic year and then a Warriors team that found their footing without him to win a championship. He never quite found his fit in the whirring multifaceted buzzsaw that is Golden State’s offense and the stretchy principles of their switching defense. Many in Dub Nation clamored for his departure to acquire someone to help Curry.
The mistake w/ picking Wiseman at #2: assuming he was NBA ready— Jim Park (@Sheridanblog) April 6, 2021
First order: admit u made a mistake. When u have Curry/Dray, u don't draft as if ur rebuilding, and that's what Ws FO ended up doing unknowingly (hopefully).
Fix: trade to a rebuilding team. Don't waste Curry/Dray
Last night we learned the Warriors are ready contend, and James Wiseman is not ready to contribute on a contender. The Warriors should trade him ASAP for someone who helps them win now. They should not waste a minute of Stephen Curry’s prime.— Grant Cohn (@grantcohn) January 19, 2021
There was hope that this would lead to greater opportunity for Wiseman to thrive in an environment where he could develop, as opposed to being under the gun to being ready to contribute to a dynasty.
His former teammate and mentor Draymond Green had this to say on his podcast about the future developmental prospects:
“Being moved to the Detroit Pistons gives James an opportunity to [restart his career],” Green said.
“And I think that’s such a beautiful thing. I feel like in this trade I think James Wiseman gets what he needs. The Warriors got what they need. James Wiseman needs to go somewhere where he can play and get minutes and reps and he’s not expected to compete at a championship level.”
Green noted that Wiseman will get to play through mistakes and gain more experience, which he called “life’s greatest teacher.”
“He’s super talented, super skilled, just hasn’t had the reps,” Green added.
But six months ago there was a piece written for Fan Sided’s Pistons coverage entitled, “Detroit Pistons: Why the Wiseman trade looks even dumber now”:
When the trade was announced, it was a head scratcher, as the Pistons already had plenty of big men. There was no pressing need for James Wiseman, but they had few who could shoot adequately from long range, which was Bey’s strong suit.
An injury to Isaiah Stewart that took him out for the final 32 games relieved the pileup of players who play center/power forward a bit, but Detroit still had three post players who should have been receiving a lot of playing time – Wiseman, Marvin Bagley III and Jalen Duren – none of whom play well with any of the others.
And apparently, that’s ringing true into this season. Jalen Duren has been balling, averaging 33 minutes per game, 18 PPG, 15.3 REB, on 80% shooting from the field. DAMN! And then behind him is the aforementioned Bagley at 14.7 minutes per game.
Look at this collection of Wiseman DNP tweets to start the season for Detroit:
Man, Wiseman getting DNP’d in DET? Ya it’s a wrap.— Jake Clark (@mrclarkinc) October 26, 2023
DNP #2 tonight. I won't keep doing this and will definitely note if Wiseman starts playing--especially if he plays well.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) October 28, 2023
But it was clear towards the end of last season that Duren was better and that DET also had other C options. /I said that and got screamed at. Oh well. https://t.co/QXI9d6HW8o
Wiseman 3 DNP to start the year? Yikes— Todd pierce (@Todd_Pierce04) October 29, 2023
Damn, they won’t let J-Wise on the court huh?
Will James Wiseman fulfill the promise of his high drafting?
This poll is closed
Absolutely, he’s young and a great athlete, He will catch fire eventually
No, there’s enough evidence to prove he’s not good at the game.