Welcome back to my preview of the 2020 NBA Draft! We’ve already covered LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards, lets move on to a big man, huh?
James Wiseman is a very interesting player in this year’s draft as he is a big man in a league that is dominated by either perimeter players or Anthony Davis-like centers that can work downlow or stretch the defense out to the perimeter creating room for perimeter players to cause chaos driving to the bucket.
Wiseman, however, doesn’t look to be a consideration at all for the #1 pick. For starters, the Timberwolves have Karl Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russel. Quite frankly, they need a player that can serve as a third or fourth option on the perimeter to give those two superstars more space to work.
A big man isn’t going to do that.
According to Sam Vecenie as quoted in this Bleacher Report article, “a lot of executives consider Wiseman to be among the safer players in the draft.”
If he’s a safe pick, why isn’t he a legit consideration at #1? Ball and Edwards both offer some risk for interested parties as Ball is full of riddles with his scoring limitations and Edwards is thought to be pretty inconsistent.
Simply put, Big Men just aren’t the focus of this league anymore. Anthony Davis made the difference for the Los Angeles Lakers, though, so Wiseman surely shows a lot of upside for a team that might want a Center with good defensive ability and has shown flashes of a limited perimeter game that could surely be trained at the next level.
The September Scouting Report for Wiseman from NBA.com provides a lot of quality information about him.
For fans, we only care about a few of these things such as his physical tools and what immediate impact he can have.
Wiseman stands at 7’1″ and has a ridiculous 7’6″ wingspan giving him a eye-popping 9’6″ standing reach. You guys like that Bam Adebayo block? Yeah, this guy could probably do that, too.
The dude also has ridiculous athleticism and length meaning he can be an absolute menace on the defensive end. Wiseman also possesses the ability to handle the basketball in a way Shaq thought he could during All Star Games. At 7’1″, he can use a variety of dribble moves to blow by slower defenders which is absurd.
Its absurd that this very tall man can dribble.
His skillset isn’t without weakness as he struggles switching on and off guards due to his lack of ability to move from side-to-side. His natural skillset and desire is to play as a wing, but with his size he’ll have to be placed at the Center position, you’d think.
He possesses the ability to make passes and dribble pass defenders, but he struggles to read defenses. This difficulty plus the confusion between what he looks like on the court versus how he wants to play makes him a bit of a concerning draft pick. However, an athletic 7’1″ dude with the ability to become a perennial All First Team Defensive player is obviously going to find a way to stick around the league for a long time.
So, where does he fit?
There isn’t a world that LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards are not the first two players drafted. Which of them goes first is an argument to be had until November 18th.
The first team to have a chance at Wiseman will be the Charlotte Hornets. Its really, really tough not to see him heading to North Carolina. Frankly put, this roster needs help. Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo are not going to get the job done at the Center position for a team that hopes to maybe compete for an 8th seed in the playoffs one day. Riddled with poor signings, a roster that doesn’t have much promise and a variety of players that simply don’t produce like you’d hope, the Charlotte Hornets need Wiseman. He can immediately provide some excitement for the team and he will have plenty of time to naturally develop in this role.
Truthfully, any team from 3-8 would be a good fit for Wiseman. He obviously won’t be an instant role player on a championship team like whomever ends up with the Warriors (should they keep the pick) but he’ll be able to start for most teams in the 3-8 spots of the draft. The only question mark would be his fit for the Cleveland Cavaliers as they have Andre Drummond, Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clark to deal with as big men, but you’d have to imagine Thompson is moving on. The Cavaliers are planning on having Andre Drummond with them in the future, so they could afford to look elsewhere from the Center position if that turns out to be true.
Its hard to make a decision on a best fit for Wiseman, but I’d like to see him partnered up with Trae Young in Atlanta if he were to somehow fall that far. Trae Young’s ability to push the ball up the court and score with ease would make the duo a lot of fun to watch together. Realistically, he is headed to Charlotte where we’ll have to rely on ESPN to show us highlights of his play or signup for a NBA package to watch his games.
Seriously, the Hornets are NEVER on TV.
Check out my other draft profiles!