Why Haliburton, not Wiseman, is best fit for Warriors in draft

/ by Josh Schrock
Presented By Wendy’s

By now, we've dissected the 2020 NBA Draft every way you can possibly slice it. If you're like me, you're probably tired of talking about scenarios and just want to get to, you know, the actual basketball.

But patience is a virtue (one I admittedly struggle with) and we still have a handful of days to go until the Warriors go on the clock.

There's been a ton of buzz about the Warriors eyeing Memphis center James Wiseman with the No. 2 overall pick. It's hard not to ogle over Wiseman. He's a 7-foot-1 rim-running center who was expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft when the college basketball season started almost a year ago. It's easy to have visions of Steph Curry and Draymond Green throwing lobs to Wiseman on one end while the center of the future erases shots on the other dance through your head.

But perhaps Wiseman, with all his talent, isn't the best draft fit for what the Warriors need. ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz has a different prospect at the top of his list for the Warriors.

"James Wiseman is the name you hear linked most to the Golden State Warriors, and I think he would be a nice fit," Schmitz said on "SportsCenter." "He gives them an infusion of athleticism that they haven't really had, I mean he's close to 7-foot-1, he's got great length, he can finish above the rim, he can play next to Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. But they will also consider moving back in this draft. There are some players that really fit their timeline and that fit their style of play.


"The name that comes to mind to me is Tyrese Haliburton out of Iowa State. If he didn't get injured when he fractured his left wrist after 22 games, I think he would be considered arguably the best player in all of college basketball. He's 6-foot-5, he shot over 40 percent three, almost 60 percent from two, he's one of the best passers in this draft and you'll hear people around the league compare him mentally to Shaun Livingston. Not his game, but his mental approach. ... I think he's a perfect fit for the Warriors if they do move back."

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Haliburton certainly would check a lot of the boxes for the Warriors. Golden State knows it needs to add at least a wing or two this offseason -- one who can defend multiple positions, be a threat from 3-point range and fit-in alongside Curry, Thompson, Green and Andrew Wiggins. The Warriors also have been looking for the ideal secondary ball-handler ever since Livingston retired and Andre Iguodala's tenure ended in last summer's trade.

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A number of trade down scenarios have been floated since we started doing this exercise a few months ago. There have been whispers of teams -- the Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks -- looking to climb up to No. 2 overall to take one of the top three prospects in the class.

Should the Warriors elect to trade down the board Haliburton, along with Deni Avdija, Isaac Okoro and Devin Vassell seem like the best prospects to pick up in the mid-lottery. I've written about a trade with the Bulls for Wendell Carter Jr. and the No. 4 pick in exchange for the No. 2 pick is exactly the type of deal the Warriors should make if they have Haliburton or Avdija atop their list. It would get them the much-needed size and depth at center and still allow them to get a rotation player on the wing who can grow into a franchise building block.

There's no clear feel on what the Warriors plan to do with the No. 2 pick. But Haliburton, not Wiseman, might be the player who best fits the needs of a Warriors team that is ready to vault back to the top of the NBA.