Through 25 games, James Wiseman has shown flashes of his tantalizing star potential. The 19-year-old also has had many learning moments in The Association, reminding everyone that while gushing with incredible talent, he still is only 19 years old.
Every coast-to-coast dunk has been met with games filled with foul trouble and frustration. It's all part of the process for a young rookie who played just three collegiate games. While Wiseman will always be compared to LaMelo Ball, who was selected one pick after the Warriors center, it's will be Wiseman's development and not Ball's fast NBA start that will determine if the Warriors made the right choice.
As far as Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers is concerned, Wiseman has been as advertised and he believes the young rookie has what it takes to carry him from unproven raw talent to league star.
"The things I do like are, he is competitive. He does love the game," Myers told Grant Liffmann and Dorell Wright on the Dubs Talk podcast. "A lot of big guys, they play basketball because they are 7-feet tall. They don't play basketball because they love basketball. He actually loves to play basketball. People watching might say, 'Well, doesn't everyone in the NBA?' No, they actually don't. They might like the money. They might like the job but they don't love it. They wouldn't play for free. If something else paid them more they would go do that.
"So, that's what gives me great satisfaction and hope with James is that's what is going to carry him. That's what's going to carry him beyond. Where he's playing now or a year from now, it's really about the next three, four, five years. People probably want it now. I'm sure James wants it now. I can't tell him to be patient. He doesn't have to be patient. He can be as impatient as he wants. That's not a bad thing necessarily. But it's a long race. You can be the tortoise, you can be the hare. Like I said, you don't know. That's what's fun about the NBA, what's fun about life. What I was 19, was I the same guy as when I was 23 or 24? No way. I wasn't in the NBA. But my version of myself at 23, 24 was a lot better than my 19-year-old version. So, we'll see. But he's going to have to put a lot of work in, but I think he likes the work. That's what I think is going to give him the best chance to be great."
Wiseman currently is averaging 11.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. While he began the season in the starting lineup, coach Steve Kerr elected to move him to the bench at the start of February, believing the insertion of Kevon Looney would help the Warriors' defense.
Wiseman took the move to the bench in stride and has been seen picking the brain of Klay Thompson or whoever is on the bench with him during the game.
Andrew Wiggins, the 2014 No. 1 overall pick, knows the pressure that comes with being a top pick, but he believes Wiseman has the work ethic and is in the right place to meet his lofty ceiling.
"Just keep playing hard, playing smart and keep wanting to get better," Wiggins said of his advice to Wiseman. "He's around great guys, around Steph and Draymond, around legends. So he's going to learn a lot. It's a process. There's a lot of up and downs in that rookie season but once you find yourself and become confident the sky is going to be the limit for him. There's so much he can do and how raw he is -- the stuff he does, he doesn't even know he's doing it. So when he figures it all out and becomes who he's supposed to be, he's going to be a superstar."
Everyone in the Warriors' organization has extreme confidence that Wiseman will become the generational talent many see in his future. It won't come overnight, but the young center wants to be great and Myers, Wiggins and the rest of the Warriors believe he can do what is necessary to make projection become reality.