James Wiseman 'best prospect you can imagine' for Warriors, Henry Abbott says

Grant Liffmann
·4 min read

Abbott calls Wiseman 'best prospect you can imagine' for Warriors originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 2020 NBA Draft and start of the 2020-21 season are right around the corner, so the anticipation as to which prospect the Warriors will select with the No. 2 overall pick is simmering.

Will they take the Georgia combo-guard Anthony Edwards? How about the enigmatic LaMelo Ball?

According to Henry Abbott of TrueHoop, the answer is obvious.

"I'm 100 percent clear in my head that James Wiseman is the answer here," Abbott declared on the "Runnin' Plays" podcast. "If he is there at No. 2, a million times -- I would consider trying to trade up for him."

The 19-year-old big man out of the University of Memphis, where he only played three collegiate games, has been rumored to be one of the Warriors' favorite prospects. Coming into the last college basketball season, Wiseman was widely regarded as the consensus top player available in the 2020 draft, but the lack of time on the court made him more of an unknown and less of a sure-fire projectable future star.

Though the league has gone small over the last few years, Abbot believes the recent trends show that Wiseman plays a position of great value.

"During the course of this last season, a new position kind of emerged in the NBA as dominant -- like Bam Adebayo and Anthony Davis, are centers with guard skills," Abbott explained. "It is very effective in the space that teams can create now. These are the big men you cannot play off the floor. Dwight Howard had to sit for a lot of the Finals, but not Bam Adebayo. These are mobile 7-footers who can guard in space and shoot and make accurate passes. [Wiseman] has all the makings of that. He's not perfect, but the things he is not perfect at are things that no 19-year-old has ever been perfect at."

When picking at the top of the draft, there is an old adage that the team should take the best player available, rather than drafting for team needs. But Abbott believes Wiseman fits both categories for the Warriors.

"This roster is just tiny anyway," Abbott elaborated. "You definitely want someone that is 7-foot-1. The thing that got me extra excited about it is you have a bunch of sophisticated veterans who are really good on defense, who can say in month one, month two, month three, 'Just do this, just do that.' Just give him a defined role and let him be young, and as he kind of earns more rope, then just explore what he can do.

"I think this is a team that will really be hurting for athleticism, size and youth, and there aren't many ways to get it, and you are going to want someone that can stay on the court with Anthony Davis all night, and I think he is there. I think that's the player to take. ... I think this is a team that can put him in a situation where he really could become something special."

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But what about Edwards and Ball? Abbott is not convinced of their fit with Golden State, or even their potential.

"The other players in the draft I think don't fit particularly well with the Warriors," Abbott said. "More duplication, more aspiring Andrew Wiggins."

As for Ball specifically, Abbott isn't a huge fan.

"He might be great, with his size and passing, fantastic. But there are lots of players who haven't panned out. He's not Luka. Luka at 18 was playing in the next-best league in the world and just was destroying everybody. This is not what happened in Australia for LaMelo Ball. If he's going to become a superstar player, it is because of development that is yet to occur."

When it comes to Edwards, Abbott's biggest concerns are focused on the measurables.

"Anthony Edwards is just not big enough to make a big dent on the Warriors right now," he explained. "Rookies in general almost never help their teams. If they do, they are usually not 6-foot-3.

"Edwards would remind me a little bit of, 'Oh yeah, Steph [Curry] and Monta Ellis can play together,' remember that? Not really, right? That was a lie. They were trying to trade him," Abbott recalled laughing.

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The jury is still out as to whether or not the Warriors will trade away the second pick, and no one really knows who they will select if they keep it. But Abbott is convinced that Wiseman is the best option -- and it's not close.

"It seems crazy to me that they would end up with anyone else," Abbot concluded. "It feels like 10 out of 10, the best prospect you can imagine for this team right now, has everything they need."