Lacob says Warriors ranked Wiseman as top prospect in draft


The 2020 NBA Draft process was much different for the Warriors than in years past, and not just because they had their first top-10 pick since 2012. 

Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. There were far fewer eyes on draft prospects, but that didn't matter for the Warriors. They instantly fell in love with James Wiseman when watching him workout. 

"That situation was very different than all the other drafts," Warriors CEO Joe Lacob told NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann on the latest "Dubs Talk" podcast. "Because of COVID, we got to go and visit these players. They couldn't come to us -- very unusual. You could only have a total of four people visit, so the group wound up being the same four people for all the visits. It wound up being Bob [Myers], Steve [Kerr], myself and our head trainer [Drew Yoder].

"We wound up doing all those and at the end of the day, there was total unanimity among the three of us in terms of being decision makers from ownership perspective, from basketball operations, from coaching perspectives about James Wiseman. I mean, we all really, really liked him."

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The Warriors had to be elated when the Minnesota Timberwolves took guard Anthony Edwards with the top pick in the draft. Golden State then grabbed Wiseman at No. 2 overall. 

Wiseman certainly fit a position of need for the Warriors at center. However, The Athletic's Marcus Thompson recently said the Warriors saw LaMelo Ball, a point guard whom the Charlotte Hornets took third overall, as the "most talented player in the draft."


Lacob seems to disagree. 

"I think [Wiseman] was the No. 1 choice, I think it's fair to say, from all three of us," Lacob said. "We all compile our own draft board. There were differences in the organization, I will tell you, as you would expect.

"But it just so happens I think the three of us all had the same view on James Wiseman. We all thought he was the No. 1 prospect in the draft."

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Through his first 16 games, Wiseman has shown flashes of a future star. He's averaging 11.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while averaging 21.4 minutes per game. There's no doubt the 19-year-old has a long ways to go, but with his size (7-foot, 240 pounds) and athleticism, Wiseman's ceiling is about as high as it gets. 

The Warriors quickly fell in love with Wiseman, and they certainly seem happy with what they've seen from the teenager early into his career.