Warriors

Warriors believe Wiseman will become top-five center in NBA

Warriors

James Wiseman has the size, the skills and athletic ability to be a star. What makes the Warriors believe the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft can hit his sky-high ceiling, however, is his attitude. 

"The one thing about James for the fans to know is that he's a very humble kid," Warriors director of player personnel Larry Harris said Tuesday morning on KNBR's "Murph & Mac" show. "He's like clay for us in the sense of being able to mold him in the way we want to. He's gonna be one of those young men that whatever Draymond [Green] tells him to do, he's gonna absolutely do. Whatever Steve [Kerr] tells him to do, he's going to do." 

Wiseman was the top high school recruit in the Class of 2019. He was supposed to star at Memphis as a freshman for Penny Hardaway's squad. For his whole life, Wiseman always has been the best player on his team. That changes with the Warriors, though. 

And that's a good thing. This is the perfect situation for a rookie, even after Golden State lost Klay Thompson for the season. With Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre in the fold, Wiseman doesn't have to be the top option from Day 1 in the pros. He won't have to carry the load. Instead, he can learn and grow. 

 

That's exactly what Harris expects Wiseman to do as a rookie. The Warriors need the young center to know his role in Year 1 while improving on a daily basis. That doesn't mean Harris doesn't see big things in Wiseman's future, though. 

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"What I think the fans should expect is a guy who's going to play with great energy, he's a tremendous athlete at his size, he's got really good hands, really good feet -- and for those that follow basketball, for a big man if you have good hands and good feet, good things will happen for you," Harris said. "I think the sky is the limit for the kid. I don't want to put too much pressure on him ... I just think when his career is over, he's gonna be one of the better centers from the time he entered the draft to the end of his career, barring no injuries.

"I think he's gonna be one of the top five centers in the game. I do believe that. He has the potential."

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That's high praise from Harris. Real high. The Warriors wouldn't have taken Wiseman with the No. 2 pick if they didn't believe this.

There were risks when it came to drafting Wiseman. The NBA is shifting away from centers and more to wings and those who can drain 3s from the logo. Wiseman also only played three games in college, and hasn't played a real game since Nov. 12, 2019. 

When it comes to Wiseman's talent, however, it's undeniable. He can run, he can jump, he can play defense and block shots. The young lefty also has a soft touch, and it's not impossible to imagine him one day being a threat from beyond the arc. 

For now, the Warriors want to halt expectations for Wiseman as a rookie. It's clear at the same time they believe they have a star in the making.