James Wiseman had an up and down season for the Warriors. With averages of 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game, many have written off Wiseman already. However, there is evidence to prove that the Warriors mishandled James Wiseman in his rookie season. Because of this, his trade value is already at its lowest point. What was once considered an elite organization, the Warriors have shown that they probably should have traded the second overall pick last summer.
The Warriors Mishandled James Wiseman
There is evidence to suggest the initial fit between the Warriors and Wiseman was not good, and yet, they drafted him anyway. Wiseman only played three college games before being suspended by the NCAA for the rest of the 2019-20 season. He then missed a good portion of training camp after being diagnosed with COVID. Simply put, it’s hard to be great right away under those circumstances. It’s clear though that the Warriors wanted to have their cake and eat it too. They wanted an elite-level rookie and have him dominate right away. That is usually not the case with rookies. In fact, if you look at the 2020 draft class, LaMelo Ball is arguably the only player that played at a high level throughout the whole season. Even rookie-of-the-year runners-up Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton had their fair share of struggles.
Low Playing Time
Once the Warriors drafted Wiseman, they then made the mistake of not committing to him. They would wind up playing him a meager 21.4 minutes per game last season. For a second overall pick, this is unusually low playing time. The Warriors quickly figured out that Wiseman was going to be more of a project than a win-now player, and couldn’t decide what to do. They had to give him minutes but since they also were in the hunt for a playoff spot, they couldn’t just let him play through his mistakes. The even more mind-boggling fact is that they were choosing to play Kevon Looney at center over Wiseman. Wiseman did have his fair share of struggles during his rookie season, but they still should have been fully committed to their rookie center as a building block instead of trying to avoid playing him.
The good news for the Warriors is that all is not lost. Wiseman is only 20 years old and now has a year of NBA experience under his belt. But whatever they decide to do, they have to go all in. There have been rumors that the Warriors are trying to package Wiseman along with their two first-round picks in this year’s draft, for a win-now player. This is the wrong approach to this situation. Instead of trying to avoid player development, the Warriors have to embrace it. The Warriors first need to get Klay Thompson back and then commit to starting Wiseman and playing him starters minutes. While there will probably be rough patches going forward, Wiseman is still a high-upside prospect who should only be traded for an all-star caliber player.
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