Warriors

Jalen Rose claims Warriors told LaMelo they would draft him

Warriors
LaMelo shooting against the Warriors

On a very strange draft day last Nov. 18, the Warriors used the No. 2 overall pick on former Memphis center James Wiseman.

But in the wake of Klay Thompson's season ending Achilles injury that happened just hours earlier, the Warriors could have taken guard LaMelo Ball to fill the void left by the fallen Splash Bro.

The Warriors stuck to the long-term fit, taking Wiseman, an uber-talented big who needs development time after playing just three games in college.

Through the first half of the season, Ball looks like the frontrunner for NBA Rookie of the Year, while Wiseman has shown flashes of his vast potential, but still is a work-in-progress.

But was Golden State zeroed in on Ball on draft night?

While complimenting the Warriors on moves they've made the last few years, ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose claimed on the "Jalen and Jacoby Podcast" that the Dubs told Ball on draft night that they planned to select him.

Jalen Rose: "And I'll give the Golden State Warriors a nod too. I like what they've been doing too. And I know they could have taken LaMelo, but I know why they didn't. And by the way, the night of the draft, the Golden State Warriors told LaMelo Ball they were going to take him next and they didn't do it."

David Jacoby: "Really?"

JR: "That story gonna come out soon."

 

DJ: "Huh."

JR: "They told him they was taking him and they didn't do it. I was on the phone."

DJ: "That's rude."

JR: "They told him they was goin' to take him."

DJ: "I understand why they wouldn't, because I've said a million times, I think LaMelo Ball was the best player in the draft, but they needed a fit and Wiseman seemed to be the right fit for their roster when you have Klay, [Andrew] Wiggins and [Steph] Curry."

JR: "Wiseman was the choice. Wiseman is the choice. They need height. When you've got Draymond playing point-center. They need height. They need tall men to play against Anthony Davis, The Joker [Nikola Jokic], [Joel] Embiid, Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. Like, they need height. And so he was the right pick for them but that didn't stop them from telling LaMelo Ball they were taking him. Just so you know, right after they got off the phone with LaMelo Ball's team and telling them they were going to take him, I was a part of the next call. As a matter of fact, I sent an internal text to our producer on Countdown and told them that. And then 3, 2, 1, the pick happens and they didn't do it. True story."

It's still too early to tell if the Warriors made the right choice picking Wiseman over Ball.

Short-term, with Thompson out this season, Ball would have been the better fit. But long-term, he might have been a tricky fit.

RELATED: Wiseman-LaMelo comparisons something Warriors will always face

Assuming Thompson comes back healthy next season and the Warriors don't trade Wiggins this offseason, it would have been tough for Golden State to start Ball next season unless they played Draymond Green a small-ball center for sizable chunks of the game.

We do know the Warriors really liked Ball. In January, The Athletic's Marcus Thompson II reported that Golden State thought Ball was the most talented player in the draft, but Wiseman was the better fit.

It's hard to believe the Warriors' management would have made a commitment to Ball only to draft Wiseman. But Rose claims the story will come out, so we'll just have to wait and see.

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