No. 2: James Wiseman, Detroit Pistons
In many ways, James Wiseman hasn’t gotten a fair shake. His freshman season at Memphis was cut short due to eligibility questions. He then had to prepare for the NBA Draft and his rookie season under pandemic restrictions in 2020. He joined a team in Golden State with aspirations of contention, suffered through injuries that cost him most of two seasons, and then couldn’t find a spot in the rotation on a team defending its title.
That’s why it’s such a painful development for Wiseman that it was the Detroit Pistons who traded for him at last season’s Trade Deadline. They gave up a good forward in Saddiq Bey to bring him onto a team already loaded with young bigs. To get a shot in the rotation, Wiseman would need to beat out one or more of Jalen Duren, Marvin Bagley III and Isaiah Stewart, all players the Pistons have invested in recently with contracts or lottery picks.
Wiseman wasn’t able to seize any such opportunities over the offseason and through the preseason, opening the year outside of the rotation as head coach Monty Williams played a three-big rotation of Durant, Stewart and Bagley.
Wiseman has gotten off the bench twice this season. First, he was given a rotation opportunity in a game against the Portland Trail Blazers; he was a -15 in six minutes in a game the Pistons lost by nine, tallying as many fouls (four) as points. The second game was Monday night against the Warriors. Against his old team, he played 11 minutes and went 0-for-3 from the field.
Wiseman is nearly out of chances. His physical traits are still impressive, but he just doesn’t seem to process basketball fast enough to become an NBA rotation player. The odds of this one turning around are not good.