Editor's note: As the Warriors prepare for the 2020 NBA draft, during which they will have a lottery pick for the first time since 2012, NBC Sports Bay Area will present a twice-weekly series spotlighting two players expected to be evaluated. This is the second of a 12-part series over the next six weeks.
The Warriors are narrowing their draft board to "eight or 10" prospects, according to NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole. In their search, no prospect has garnered more attention with little college output than top-five hopeful James Wiseman.
In his abbreviated college career, Wiseman averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds, including a 14-point, 12-rebound performance against the Oregon Ducks.
Standing 7-foot tall and armed with a 7-4 wingspan, he's a versatile scorer who can spread the floor. Defensively, his length and athleticism can alter shots. His size also allows the big man to be a pick-and-roll weapon. Against South Carolina State, he showed his superior athleticism, routinely running the floor for easy dunks in a blowout win.
However, the biggest concern hindering Wiseman is his lack of on-court time. He only played three games after withdrawing from Memphis amid recruiting violations.
While a prep star in Nashville, former NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway gave Wiseman's family $11,500 to move to Memphis in 2017. Though Hardaway wasn't a college coach at the time, he was deemed a college booster after donating $1 million to the school in 2008. Two years after the payment, Hardaway became Memphis' head coach and Wiseman followed soon after.
In December, the NCAA suspended Wiseman 12 games and ordered him to donate $11,500 to charity. Weeks later, he opted to leave school and prep for the draft. Since his departure, Wiseman has been training in Miami.
Adding to his limited college experience, Wiseman's defensive intensity has been questioned. In his short time, he frequently was attacked by smaller guards in the pick-and-roll. he also has developed a habit of biting on pump fakes while missing defensive rotations. Offensively, he tends to settle for fadeaway jumpers early in the shot clock instead of letting the offense come to him.
Nonetheless, the 18-year-old has all the potential to integrate perfectly into Golden State's motion offense. Initially, he can occupy the pick-and-roll lob threat JaVale McGee once occupied. As his game develops, he can be a stretch big the Warriors haven't had in years.
James Wiseman profile
Birthdate: March 31, 2001 (18 years old)
Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.
2019-20 season averages: 19.7 points (76.9 percent FG, 0 percent 3-point, 70.4 percent FT), 10.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 3.0 blocks.
Weight: 240 pound
What they’re saying: “When all is said and done, James Wiseman will be the No. 1 pick. Coached against David Robinson when he was a sophomore at Navy and there are similarities, on and off the court.” - Fran Fraschilla