The Golden State Warriors have selected James Wiseman with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Wiseman has been among the highest-ranked players in this class since high school, but had to overcome a tumultuous collegiate season at Memphis in order to earn such a high selection. Wiseman was suspended by the NCAA for accepting improper benefits, including $11,500 in moving expenses from Memphis coach Penny Hardaway, but chose to enter the NBA Draft immediately rather than serve the suspension and return.
That decision appears warranted now that Wiseman has officially been selected with one of the draft's top picks. His raw talent virtually guaranteed that would be the case. Wiseman is an elite athlete at 7-1, and with a 7-6 wingspan, he has the tools to be among the NBA's best rim-protectors. Those attributes haven't yet translated into elite defensive production, though, and he will need significant refinement at the NBA level.
The same can be said of his offensive gifts. He'll be a strong lob-finisher in the pick-and-roll as a rookie, but lacks consistent methods of individual scoring. He looks the part as a shooter but has never posted particularly impressive shooting numbers, and in an NBA increasingly allergic to the post-up, he hasn't yet developed the sort of post moves that would justify such typically inefficient looks. In other words, Wiseman is a 19-year-old rookie. He has a long way to go, but talents like his are rare and worth betting on even at this stage of the draft.
And in Golden State, he'll join a winning infrastructure that should do wonders for his development. There might not be a better teammate to teach Wiseman about NBA defense than Draymond Green, and if Klay Thompson is able to play at all this season, the Warriors should be in position to make a deep playoff run right away. That's a rare opportunity for a rookie, and it should be very helpful for Wiseman's long-term outlook. The Warriors have largely played without centers for the past half-decade. Now, they have one with star-caliber upside.
NBA Draft grade: A+
It would have sounded a lot better this morning before the Klay Thompson news, but if you take a physical specimen like Wiseman and put him next to Stephen Curry, Klay and Draymond Green, and you can compete for another championship. But still, with the second pick, you get the player most physically prepared to make a big impact right away. -- Gary Parrish