Penny says Wiseman is 'workaholic,' will extend shooting range

/ by Brian Witt
Presented By Wendy’s

With the No. 2 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, the Warriors selected a player who played fewer collegiate games than Steph Curry played in last season. James Wiseman's college career came to an abrupt end after only three contests, but within that limited span, he was able to exhibit a few skills that he should be able to carry over to the professional level.

The first thing that jumps off the tape is his size and athleticism. At 7-foot-1 and 240 pounds, there are few people that large that can move as fluidly as he can. He is imposing in the paint, a dominant rebounder and tremendous rim protector, a set of characteristics the Warriors sorely need.

But in the modern NBA, the traditional center is an endangered species. Now more than ever, players who can't shoot are easily exposed and a severe detriment to an effective offense. If you check out Wiseman's college highlights, the vast majority of them will be dunks and blocks. But you won't find many shots from the perimeter. In fact, he attempted just one 3-pointer during his time at Memphis. And he missed.

That might give some teams cause for concern. Clearly, though, the Warriors were not. And it might have something to do with how certain his college coach is that Wiseman will be able to extend his range at the NBA level.


"Yeah, he's been working on that for the last 10 months in Miami," Penny Hardaway told Chris Mullin on the "Warriors Draft Special" on NBC Sports Bay Area. "He started working with me on it his senior year in high school, cuz he used to shoot the ball back behind his head, and then he moved it out in front of him and more of a higher shot. So, he was serious about understanding that he was going to have to get his jumpshot better to be able to stretch the floor, and he's worked on that. 

"He's only going to get better, because he'll be shooting shots with Steph [Curry] after practice or Klay [Thompson] after practice or anyone else that's after practice shooting shots, he's going to be right there with them. He's a workaholic."

Apparently, that work ethic isn't a new development for Wiseman. Hardaway went on to explain that he's been like that since his time in high school.

"He loves the game a lot," Hardaway said. "He's a kid that eats, drinks and sleeps basketball. That's all he does. ... He works out in the gym two or three times a day. He was doing that in high school. Morning workouts before class, workouts before practice, workouts after practice. He might come back and shoot free throws or jumpshots later on that night. He was just a workaholic, so he's going to always be evolving and getting better, because he's going to work."

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Had Wiseman had a more extensive college career, there's a good chance he would have showcased his shooting ability more extensively. Of course, had he done that, it's quite possible -- perhaps likely -- he wouldn't have been available to the Warriors at all.

Wiseman's unique path to the NBA worked in Golden State's favor. If he can add to his game like the Warriors and his former coach believe he can, the sky is the limit for a rookie who looks like he can reach it.