James Wiseman has had some impressive moments early on in his rookie season, but he still has a lot to learn if he is going to reach his lofty ceiling.
Andrew Wiggins knows all about the expectations that come with being a high draft pick. The Warriors forward was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Wiggins was a good player during his five-plus seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves but didn't become the franchise star many pegged him as and eventually was shipped to Golden State last February.
Wiggins won the Rookie of the Year award during his inaugural campaign, something Wiseman has his eye on, and the Kansas product gave the 19-year-old center some advice on chasing the award and how to become the star he's supposed to alongside Steph Curry and Draymond Green.
"Just keep playing hard, playing smart and keep wanting to get better," Wiggins said. "He's around great guys, around Steph and Draymond, around legends. So he's going to learn a lot. It's a process. There's a lot of up and downs in that rookie season but once you find yourself and become confident the sky is going to be the limit for him. There's so much he can do and how raw he is -- the stuff he does, he doesn't even know he's doing it. So when he figures it all out and becomes who he's supposed to be, he's going to be a superstar."
Through 22 games, Wiseman has flashed the athleticism, versatility and scoring acumen that had the Warriors salivating when he fell to them at No. 2 in the draft. After playing in just three games at Memphis, Wiseman still is a work in progress and the Warriors are bringing him along at his own pace. He's had incredible games followed by NBA learning experiences which is all part of being a rookie.
Wiseman has a chance to make a statement in the Rookie of the Year race Friday when he faces LaMelo Ball, who the Charlotte Hornets selected one pick after Wiseman, at Chase Center. Ball and Wiseman will be forever linked as their NBA careers evolve. While Ball has silenced all his doubters right out of the gate, how Wiseman develops will determine whether or not the Warriors made the right call in passing on Ball.
As for Wiggins, he's following his own advice and soaking up his time alongside Curry and Green with his eyes on a lofty goal for next season when Klay Thompson returns to the fold.
"It's great playing with Steph and Dray," Wiseman said. "Guys that have multiple championships, know the game of basketball, legends in the game. Just learning from them, being alongside them, battling, competing every day and that's the end result. Hopefully, we can keep pushing and make a run to the ship, especially when Klay comes back."