Warriors: Drafting James Wiseman would be poor decision

Warriors, James Wiseman (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Warriors, James Wiseman (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /

The Golden State Warriors will have one of the top picks in the NBA draft this summer, but using it on center James Wiseman would be a poor value move.

The rumor mill is beginning to churn again, and one recent rumor has connected the Golden State Warriors to the top collegiate center. This rumor was reported by Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, so it is not a source with direct knowledge of the Warriors’ front office.

With that being said, the Warriors have been linked to a handful of draft prospects, but the 7-foot-1 Wiseman does not sit atop that list despite the Warriors’ obvious need to improve at the center position.

As currently constructed, Golden State’s group of centers consist of Marquese Chriss and Kevon Looney. Perhaps, Alen Smailagic could see some minutes at the post spot next season as well.

The group is either unproven in the case of Chriss and Smailagic, or injury-prone in the case of Looney. On that note, Chriss did have an impressive season and should see major playing time next year.

Still, the Warriors need additional depth at the center and free agency could be the way they add that depth.

Even if the rumors connecting Wiseman to the Warriors had substance, it would be a poor use of their top draft pick, which is expected to be no worse than fifth overall.

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That is because today’s NBA is no longer dominated by the center like it was 20 or 30 years ago.

NBA teams do not value big men as much today. For example, long-time Detroit Pistons center and two-time NBA All-Star Andre Drummond was sent packing at the 2020 trade deadline to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for expiring contracts in Brandon Knight and John Henson plus a 2023 second-round pick.

For the Pistons, the second-round pick was the most valuable part of the deal.

Similarly, former Pistons center Greg Monroe is out of the NBA after putting on three uniforms in the 2018-2019 season. The 29-year-old was a rotation mainstay and a double-double machine earlier in his career.

Do we need one more example? Of course, we do.

Eight-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard has racked up his frequent flyer miles in recent seasons as he donned an Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards, and Los Angeles Lakers uniform since the beginning of the 2016-2017 season.

Howard was also traded to the Brooklyn Nets in the 2018 offseason but was waived quicker than you can find Brooklyn on the map.

NBA offenses are not being built around the center anymore.

There are a few exceptions where the center continues to play a key role. Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers come to mind as a couple of the exceptions.

Does that mean Wiseman would be a bad pick for another team? Not necessarily, but the Warriors are looking to leverage this pick to keep their championship window open.

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Unless Wiseman is a game-changing big, which Golden State does not seem to believe, then their best bet will be to pass on the 7-foot-1 center.

Of course, the rumor could have originally been leaked as a sort of gamesmanship by the Warriors’ front office. It is no secret that the Warriors could eventually trade their top pick in a package to acquire an immediate impactful, veteran player.

If a team such as the New York Knicks or Atlanta Hawks believes the Warriors may select the Memphis product, then they may be compelled to trade up to acquire the pick before Golden State makes its move.

Still, this all might be a moot point.

At the outset, the Warriors never seemed interested in the 19-year-old. If the team’s evaluation of Wiseman changes and they end up flirting with the idea of drafting the center, it would not necessarily be a bad pick.

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But with a top pick, it would be a poor value in today’s NBA.