The 2019-20 NBA season finally came to a close earlier this week, when the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in six games in the Finals. Now, it's officially time to enter offseason mode, and first up on the calendar is the 2020 NBA Draft, which is set for Nov. 18.
It's a bit of a strange year in regards to the draft, and not just because of, well, everything that's happened in the past eight months. Unlike most drafts, there's really no consensus about the top talent, and both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors, who own the first two picks, could be looking to trade down.
With no clear cut options atop the board, front offices will have to decide whether they want to go for upside or safety, and there are valid cases for both ways of thinking. For teams looking to go the latter route, they could be eyeing big man James Wiseman. He's reportedly seen as one of the "safer players" in the class, according to a report from Sam Vecenie of The Athletic:
Having talked to sources who have seen Wiseman work out in Miami, there is some real enthusiasm about his play. He's looked dominant in workouts and in the runs with other high-level NBA Draft prospects. A lot of executives I've spoken with actually consider Wiseman to be among the safer players in the draft. Simply put, few executives doubt that his size, length, athleticism will translate into being a starting quality NBA center. There the disagreement comes is whether or not he has star upside, something that is necessary for a team to be willing to take a center at the top of the draft in today's day and age. Some think his defensive ability on the interior does bring that kind of upside. Others are less convinced.
On the one hand, it's interesting that Wiseman is seen as a safe pick considering he's only played a few organized games in well over a year. He arrived at the University of Memphis as a highly-touted recruit, but was also dealing with eligibility issues relating to benefits he and his family received from Penny Hardaway. In the end, amid various lawsuits determining his status, he played three games, averaging 19.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and three blocks, before leaving school early to prepare for the draft.
At the same time, teams have now been able to see a good deal of him competing against other elite prospects, where he's reportedly been "dominant." And players with his size -- 7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-6 wingspan -- and athleticism usually aren't complete busts. Ideally you'd like more than "well he won't be terrible" from a top-five pick, but if you're confused about who to take, falling back on the guy with the best physical tools is understandable.