As the 2020 NBA Draft draws closer, many talented prospects will be waiting to hear their name called come draft night. Of all 60 players who will be selected, there is arguably no prospect with a higher upside than Memphis standout James Wiseman. The 7’1″ center is projected by most to be a top-three pick in the upcoming draft and possibly develop into one of the NBA’s premier big men. After having his college career stopped short, Wiseman is more motivated than ever to succeed at the next level.
2020 NBA Draft Profile for James Wiseman
As a five-star recruit out of high school and ESPN’s number one overall recruit, Wiseman garnered interest from just about every division one college in the country. He received offers from some of the top programs in the nation including Kentucky, North Carolina, and Kansas. Wiseman ultimately decided that Memphis was the best fit for him, and signed there on November 20, 2018. After missing the team’s preseason with an injury, Wiseman made his regular-season debut where he was nothing short of spectacular. He finished the game with 28 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks in a Memphis victory.
Three days after his debut, the NCAA ruled Wiseman ineligible to play for Memphis for the remainder of the season. The school stated that Memphis’ head coach had paid for Wiseman’s moving expenses which was against NCAA rules. The NCAA’s ruling was temporarily blocked which paved the way for Wiseman to continue playing. He played in two more games on the season in which he averaged 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 3 blocks. At the conclusion of these two games, the NCAA ruled that Wiseman would have to serve a 12-game suspension before he could be deemed eligible to play again. Instead of accepting this, Wiseman decided to leave Memphis and begin preparation for the NBA Draft.
- At 7’1″ he possesses elite length for a player at his position
- His frame will allow him to add plenty of muscle and mass in the coming years
- Possesses top-notch speed and athleticism for a player of his size
- An aggressive rebounder who isn’t afraid to be physical to get the ball
- Will get plenty of second-chance points with his rebounding ability
- A talented shot-blocker as he averaged three blocks per game in college
- Possibly the best defender in the entire draft class
- Uses his size and technique to shut down his opponents
- Very solid from the free-throw line as he shot over 70% in college
- Mid-range game is a work in progress but has shown improvement since high school
- Great at setting screens and making plays in the pick and roll game
- Uses his size and a plethora of post moves to finish shots in the paint
- Always a threat to finish off the alley-oop
- Has a tremendous upside
- Very small sample size as he only played in three games during his college career
- Not a threat to shoot from beyond the arc
- His mid-range game is improving, but still is very inconsistent
- A little light for a player of his height; will need to add additional mass to have success at the next level
- Relied on his size too much to score in college
- Doesn’t fit the mold of a modern-day center
- Has a history of minor injuries over the course of his career
NBA Player Comparison
While they aren’t identical, Wiseman is a very close comparison to Portland Trail Blazers‘ center Hassan Whiteside. Both players excel on defense and use their long wingspan to block shots. The majority of their scoring is done along the interior, and neither has much of a three-point shot. While Wiseman does have a higher motor than Whiteside, both players play very similarly.
NBA Draft Projection
James Wiseman has the potential to one day be one of the best centers in all the NBA. His rebounding and defensive ability paired with his tremendous offensive upside are sure to garner interest from just about every NBA team. He is almost a lock to be a top-five player with the potential to go top-three in the 2020 NBA Draft.