Wizards

The best team fits for James Wiseman in the NBA Draft

Wizards

This year was supposed to billed as the "James Wiseman draft" after his explosive years during prep school. That is now in question after the power forward only took the floor for three games while at the University of Memphis. 

No matter where he is drafted, whether No. 1 or third, any team will be glad to have him. 

What makes Wiseman unique among the top prospects of this year's class is that he is one of the few true post players. There are several combo guards and wing shooters all around the top 10. After Wiseman, there is a big drop-off to the next rim-protector and rebounder. 

That makes Wiseman a valuable commodity on draft night. 

Wiseman sizes up at 7-foot-1 and a 7-foot-6 wingspan. He's a uniquely gifted athlete that wows in the open court and is a natural star who shines when the spotlight is on him.

Any team looking to add to their frontcourt that is in the lottery has their eyes on him. While he is raw and some areas of his game, like his shooting and full use of his body needs some work, he has the biggest upside of any of the top prospects. At 19, there is a lot to like about Wiseman's future. 

RELATED: NBA mock draft has Wiseman to the Warriors

Wiseman won't likely be able to come to a team and have the impact that Zion Williamson and Ja Morant had their rookie seasons. A year or two learning a system and getting him accustomed to the NBA-level will do wonders. But further down the road, he could be a franchise player, like a Chris Bosh or Karl Anthony-Towns. That's his ceiling if all goes well. 

 

Ideally, the forward will need a system already in place. It shouldn't be one that limits his athleticism but one that has room for free-range decisions. Long-term there shouldn't be a center or post-focused power forward that could prevent him from getting reps later down the line. An experienced veteran to held mold Wiseman, however, will likely go a long way.

That's not to say he can't play alongside another big, which he can and showed briefly at Memphis. But there needs to a point where the frontcourt keys are handed to him in the near future.

Wiseman may fall given so much uncertainty around him and many teams near the top of the draft needing answers for a season that will be two weeks away. Still, this evaluation is limited to only the top 10 teams in the draft class. 

Here's who will likely have a fit for Wiseman:

Washington Wizards (Pick No. 9)

Positionally, it makes so much sense for the Wizards to draft Wiseman if available. He fits their primary needs in the post by cleaning up the glass (3rd worst in NBA) and rim protection (7th worst in terms of blocks). Wiseman would also not step on any toes or roles of franchise cornerstones John Wall and Bradley Beal along with second-year player Rui Hachimura. But the question is, is Wiseman worth them trading up (i.e. Golden State at No. 2) and leveraging their future draft picks? Washington finally has some picks in their pocket, how much do they value him to fill into that position?

Golden State Warriors (Pick No. 2)

The Warriors do not run an offense that typically has a traditional center on the court. That's where the Wiseman angle is so interesting because he has the length of a five but plays like a four in his skill set. With the way other Western Conference teams are trending, it might not be a bad idea for them to get a little bit bigger. Golden State's path to a championship now includes Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, Ivica Zubac and Kristaps Porzingis. Draymond Green and Eric Paschall are great utility defenders alongside Kevon Looney, but they can't be called upon to defend those guys every play. 

New York Knicks (Pick No. 8)

New York needs a star. They've been looking to find one in the draft for a while now but haven't had much success aside from Kristaps Porziņģis (who was later traded). Wiseman is that guy and one of the few prospects in this draft has that electricity that you only get from stars. There's Wiseman, Obi Toppin and potentially Onyeka Okongwu - no one else really has that extra element. Madison Square Garden would embrace Wiseman and he would certainly feed off the bright lights of New York City. 

 

Charlotte Hornets (Pick No. 3)

The Hornets committed to their frontcourt by drafting P.J. Washington last season. Wiseman would essentially be a taller, bouncier version of him. With Bismack Biyombo a free agent and Cody Zeller only having one more season left on his contract, the center position is one of need. A lineup with Washington and Wiseman would have so much length that would give small-ball teams fits. Plus those two pieces would be enough to build around to re-shape the franchise.