It was never a question of ceiling for James Wiseman during his time with the Golden State Warriors, with few doubting the former number two overall pick’s All-Star level potential if everything went right.
If anything it was Wiseman’s floor that led to his departure from the Warriors at February’s trade deadline. Hampered by injuries, the seven-footer was never able to turn into even a reserve-level NBA center, or at least one on a championship timeline like Golden State.
Former Golden State Warriors’ big man James Wiseman has been left off a ranking of the NBA’s best young centers with the highest ceiling.
While Wiseman’s tumultuous three-year tenure at the Warriors came to a disappointing halt, there was optimism that the 2022 NBA champion would revitalize his career in the rebuilding environment of the Detroit Pistons.
Wiseman unsurprisingly increased his output with the Pistons late last season, but not in a manner that would have Golden State immediately regretting their decision to trade him in a deal that returned defensive menace Gary Payton II.
Now it seems Wiseman’s ceiling has dropped to a point where All-Star calculations are nothing but a distant dream. In a recent article evaluating ‘NBA bigs under 25 with highest ceilings’, writer Zach Buckley has graded Wiseman an honourable mention outside the top 10.
Ranked above Wiseman in the top 10 — Nic Claxton, Onyeka Okongwu, Alperun Sengun, Walker Kessler, Jabari Smith Jr., Jaren Jackson Jr., Evan Mobley, Chet Holmgren, Zion Williamson and Victor Wembanyama.
It’s a fair way from the comparisons to Chris Bosh, Anthony Davis and Patrick Ewing that Wiseman garnered during the pre-draft process. The Warriors hoped to have a generational talent on their hands, but it failed spectacularly and has only been made worse by the rising careers of the two players taken either side of him — Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball.
Buckley’s rankings would seem to suggest that maybe it’s time we put away with the question of whether Wiseman can reach his potential, and rather look on to see if he can become a rotation-level NBA center for the next decade.