Warriors had internal James Wiseman-LaMelo Ball debate, Bob Myers says

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  • Golden State Warriors
    Golden State Warriors
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • James Wiseman
    James Wiseman
    American basketball player
  • LaMelo Ball
    LaMelo Ball
    American basketball player
  • Bob Myers
    Basketball general manager

Myers says Warriors debated between Wiseman, LaMelo in draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

If there's one thing NBA fans love to do, it's debate. 

Ever since the Warriors selected center James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, there has been plenty of debate surrounding the decision to select Wiseman over LaMelo Ball who has quickly developed into a star. 

Wiseman played just three games in college for Memphis before Golden State selected and started him right away on opening night against the Brooklyn Nets in 2020. Sustaining a knee injury that limited him to just 39 games in his rookie season, Wiseman has yet to prove himself at the NBA level.

With Ball becoming a star almost instantly for the Charlotte Hornets, the contrast between him and Wiseman has led some to sour on Golden State's selection. The Warriors, though, remain very confident in the seven-footer's ability. 

"We targeted James [Wiseman,] obviously we took him in front of LaMelo [Ball}," Warriors GM Bob Myers said on The Ryen Russillo Podcast. "We debate everything ... we're pretty debate-oriented. It's not just me in a room saying 'this is what we're doing' and then I shut the door. We hashed out the whole thing as far as what we thought. We ended up ranking it the way we did. We watched LaMelo, he had a great workout when we saw him. We knew he would be a really good player, but we ended up putting James in front of him."

The Warriors are in a unique situation because they've been drafting high-end talent early on in the first round while still operating as a team with immediate championship aspirations. Young players such as Wiseman and 2021 first-rounders Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody will see limited action as they continue to develop, which requires patience on all fronts. 

"When I say I believe in him, people think I'm being defensive or promoting our guy," Myers added. "Just like [Jonathan] Kuminga and [Moses] Moody, they're not getting to go out there this year and run around. Their minutes are limited, they're on one of the better teams in the league right now, so they don't get that leash or ability to make mistakes that a lot of young rookies get. It's rare that a team like ours gets to draft guys that high.

"I don't know what James [Wiseman] is going to be, but I do know that he hasn't had a chance to do anything yet or show anything yet. Three games at Memphis last year we didn't know what we had. And I don't think even Steve [Kerr] would admit, we just kind of threw James out there. That's hard for a big guy to do. We were posting him up on [Deandre] Ayton, we probably wouldn't do that anymore. I just think Steve was trying to see what he was. So now it's about putting him in a narrower lane and letting him grow from outside of that."

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Wiseman has been rehabbing alongside superstar Klay Thompson, who is reportedly targeting a return in January. It remains unclear when Wiseman will return to the floor, but when he does, the Warriors are excited to see what he can do in year two. 

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