Golden State Warriors: Predicting James Wiseman’s highs and lows

Memphis Tigers center James Wiseman jokes with his teammates on the bench during their game against the Little Rock Trojans at the FedExForum on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.W 21134
Memphis Tigers center James Wiseman jokes with his teammates on the bench during their game against the Little Rock Trojans at the FedExForum on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.W 21134 /

James Wiseman is set for an interesting rookie season with the Golden State Warriors. What can we expect from the big man?

The Golden State Warriors are thrilled that their troubles in the 2019-20 NBA season were made worthwhile by the addition of James Wiseman. The worst record in the league last year landed them the No. 2 overall pick and an opportunity to select a prospect that everyone wanted to take a chance on.

It made all too much sense for the Warriors to select Wiseman when it was their turn to choose in the draft. How could they possibly pass up on the uber-athletic 7-footer with elite potential in the paint?

Wiseman’s strange path

However, Wiseman’s path to the league was as peculiar as they come. He appeared in only three games for Memphis before a scandal brought his collegiate career to an abrupt finish.

Drafting a player with minimum collegiate experience isn’t unheard of. Many prospects jumped straight from high school to the league, and others have missed their entire freshman season in college due to injury only to commit for the draft right after.

However, Wiseman’s scenario has been made even more strange due to the ongoing pandemic which limited his ability to work out for teams before the draft. Even after landing in Golden State, Wiseman wasn’t able to compete in a traditional Summer League gauntlet or spend much time in training camp before the 2020-21 season begins in a few days.

This has everyone wondering, what will Wiseman look like in his rookie season?

Wiseman’s ceiling

Steve Kerr did a great job of riling everyone up when he compared Wiseman to NBA Hall of Famer, David Robinson.

"“You’re talking about a guy who is seven feet tall, huge wingspan, runs the floor, good touch, handles the ball — the package you don’t see very often. But there’s zero experience in that package now……I know all of our fans are probably hoping he’s gonna be David Robinson when he steps out on the floor. But picture David Robinson as a sophomore at Navy. That’s the guy you’re comparing him to, not the All-Star with the [San Antonio] Spurs”"

Wiseman’s potential to become a game-changer is undeniable. He has all of the physical tools of the great centers that came before him. Yet, as Kerr said, Wiseman has work to do before being an All-Star big man.

Wiseman doesn’t have much experience under his belt – so we can expect him to stumble out of the gates. However, his raw athleticism and gift as a rim protector can help him be a force from day one.

No one is looking for Wiseman to be a versatile, rim-running, floor-spacing superstar this season. But, the fact that all of those talents are in the realm of reality for Wiseman in the future says enough about the type of player Wiseman can become.

Wiseman’s downfalls

It isn’t possible to simulate the energy of a live NBA game. This is a lesson many rookies have learned before, and Wiseman will be no different.

It would not surprise me in the least to see Wiseman struggle in his first few weeks. The speed of professional players will catch him off guard, and he won’t be able to muscle his way through grown men as easily as he did in college.

Wiseman will only succeed as quickly as he is willing to learn. He has a strong mentor in Draymond Green who is ready to hand over the keys – all it will take is getting some live-action run in and soaking up all the information in front of him.

There aren’t any excuses for Wiseman to fail with Golden State. He has all of the resources for success at his disposal. Some mishaps in his rookie season are expected – but an underwhelming career with the Dubs would indicate Wiseman as an all-time draft bust. That’s how perfect this situation is for the young star.

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