Golden State Warriors all-time draft bust starting 5

James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors
James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
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Center: James Wiseman, 2020

If we were to make a straight list of the biggest draft busts in Warriors history, the list would be dominated by centers. For as well as the Warriors have drafted guards over their history as a franchise, they have been equally bad at drafting big men. As many as 11 names were considered for this spot (see honorable mentions below).

In the end, however, the choice here was obvious. The Golden State Warriors received a gift in 2020 that very few contenders will ever receive: the second overall pick. With the core of their title-winning teams still in place, they had a chance to add a blue chip prospect to the mix and extend their lifespan as a dynasty, something the San Antonio Spurs successfully did with Kawhi Leonard, and years before the Detroit Pistons failed to do with Darko Milicic.

Georgia wing Anthony Edwards went first overall, leaving the Warriors with a choice between Memphis center James Wiseman and the world-traveling 6'7" point guard LaMelo Ball. The Warriors had never had a true rim-running center; JaVale McGee and Jordan Bell thrived in that role in short stints, but the Warriors had always used more skilled centers operating at the elbows.

They chose Wiseman to usher in a new era. The thinking was that the gravity of the Warriors' shooters would open up the paint for thundering runs to the rim, and that pressure on the rim would then open up space on the perimeter for their shooters to get loose. The problem was threefold: Wiseman couldn't process at NBA speeds, he couldn't pass, and he was often injured. It made him the worst possible fit with the Warriors' high-processing system.

Wiseman was traded during his third season, but his time in Detroit hasn't gone any better. He's still a physical marvel and that will keep him in the league for a few more years, but he hasn't proven he is an NBA player, failing to deliver on the mountain of upside he brought into the league with him.

LaMelo Ball is an All-Star, but he also plays the same position as Stephen Curry, so it's reasonable to think he may not have developed as quickly or as well playing with the Warriors. Even so, they would be significantly better off with Ball than Wiseman, making this a stark bust and a massive Warriors What If.

Honorable Mentions: Chris Washburn (3rd pick in 1986); Russell Cross (6th pick in 1983); Adonal Foyle (8th pick in 1997); Patrick O'Bryant (9th pick in 2006); Todd Fuller (11th pick in 1996); Clifford Rozier (16th pick in 1994)