When former number two overall pick James Wiseman was traded by the Golden State Warriors at February’s trade deadline, there was a clear expectation that the move would garner greater opportunity at his new home.
That eventuated for the 22-year-old, with Wiseman averaging over 25 minutes per game in 24 appearances for the Detroit Pistons last season. Yet with a log jam of big man options at the franchise’s disposal, Wiseman may not be afforded the same luxuries in 2023-24.
Former Golden State Warriors’ center James Wiseman may struggle for playing time with the Detroit Pistons next season.
Many Piston fans were left confused by their team’s motive behind acquiring Wiseman, not only because they gave up a valuable wing in Saddiq Bey in order to do so, but also because of the logjam in their big man department.
Wiseman is one of four young centers on the Detroit roster. The most talented of those is Jalen Duren, while the franchise just re-committed to Isaiah Stewart on a four-year, $64 million contract extension. That leaves Wiseman and Marvin Bagley II, both second overall picks who’ve thus far undelivered on their potential.
At a stretch Stewart or Bagley could play the four and the Pistons could run a double-big lineup. But for a team desperate to rise out of the NBA doldrums, the time for experimenting is nearing its conclusion.
Wiseman struggled for opportunity with the Warriors because they, and specifically head coach Steve Kerr, didn’t believe in his ability to contribute to a championship-aspiring team. While that reasoning may have dissipated with the rebuilding Pistons, he now faces the same potential issue again because of Detroit’s playing personnel.
Of course, injury could strike. It did. Stewart missed the last 21 games of the regular season, almost immediately opening the door for Wiseman to get playing time. However, that’s far from a path you wish to rely upon.
The other trio are under contract for multiple more seasons, while Wiseman has one more year at $12.1 million. That’s opened up trade speculation once again, although even many Piston fans have succumbed to the realization that another team many not be so willing to take him on.
Wiseman appeared in Detroit’s Summer League setup earlier this month, and although he posted some decent numbers, the mere fact he was there raised eyebrows. Meanwhile, with the Pistons juggling their center options, Golden State are yet to find anyone they believe suitable to back up Kevon Looney. There remains no seven-footer on the Warrior roster after Wiseman’s departure, and the closest thing the franchise has done is sign another small-ball center option in Dario Saric.
When the Warriors gave up on Wiseman in exchange for Gary Payton II in February, there was always the threat he’d fulfill his potential and leave the Warriors looking silly. Yet the chances of that appear almost slimmer by the day, particularly in Detroit where a surplus of bigs threatens to continue Wiseman’s struggles.