If there's any place for a young and talented prospect to develop with minimal pressure, it's the Golden State Warriors. All things considered, James Wiseman is lucky to be playing for the defending champions given how his career has gone thus far.

Just imagine him on one of the bottom-feeding franchises from the past couple of seasons. Perennial lottery teams have their hopes and dreams pinned on their high-end lottery picks. An injury-plagued rookie season is one thing. But make it two consecutive and any player will start to feel the intense heat from a frustrated fan base looking at who else they could've selected from that draft class.

Instead, James Wiseman ended up on a Golden State Warriors side that was able to win the whole darn thing without him even playing a single minute during their 2021-22 NBA championship run. In some respects, he became a relative afterthought considering he's actually a number two overall pick.

But this third season could be make or break for James Wiseman. The Warriors are staring right at potentially the most inflated NBA salary cap number and luxury tax penalty in NBA history should they end up keeping their young core. Next season, Wiseman will be making just shy of $10 million, with that number jumping to $12 million in 2023.

While it's still a no-brainer to pick up those options at this point, his luster as an elite prospect will now be put under the microscope next season. If he underperforms, then the time and investment the Warriors made on him will start to weigh a little more heavily on the front office. If he gets injured again, the label on his situation moves quickly from “Golden State is being cautious on him” to “James Wiseman can't stay healthy” in an instant.

Even plugged in Warriors insider Anthony Slater recently pointed to Wiseman as the “player with most to prove” in a recent piece for The Athletic. Here's what he had to say on the center:

He was the second overall pick three drafts ago. The player selected before him, Anthony Edwards, seems destined for stardom. The player selected after him, LaMelo Ball, made the All-Star team last season. Wiseman only dipped his toes in the NBA water before missing 16 months and counting. He’s healthy now, still only 21 and possesses some elite, unteachable size and raw tools. But the clock is ticking on a career that hasn’t left the tarmac. He enters next season as the backup center on the defending champs, a presumably low-pressure spot behind Kevon Looney. But he’s owed $21.7 million combined the next two seasons from a franchise trying to escape an exorbitant tax bill. If he pops, he’s the center of the future. If his early career sits in a third-season stall, questions will arise quickly. — Anthony Slater

Pressure in his third season isn't necessarily a bad thing. The Warriors did everything in their power to put James Wiseman in position to succeed. They never put a concrete timetable on his return and allowed him to sit the entire season just to give him the proper leeway to transition back into the rotation.

Now it's Wiseman's chance to return the favor. As a prospect, he's still as terrifying as they come. He's a legit 7-footer who's agile and has legitimate offensive abilities with a decent outside stroke while also possessing defensive potential rivaling nearly any other prospect in the league.

Reminding the rest of the NBA of his tangible traits with a few breakout performances early in the season will go a long way in erasing the narrative around him. The next step after that would be in proving that those traits translate to on-court production that will help the Warriors go on another championship run.

But stumble out of the gate, and it's not out of the question for the Warriors to take calls on their prized big man. His rookie-scale salary isn't as small as say Jordan Poole's as a 27th overall pick. Poole's Year 4 number is less than a third of what Wiseman's is going to be.

Money aside, if the Warriors press escape on Wiseman, it would also be a huge red flag that other teams will be acutely aware of. Golden State was able to turn Andrew Wiggins into a near Finals MVP and All-Star and develop players into legitimate contributors for over a decade. If they quit on Wiseman, then it would be indicative of how far off he is from being a true piece for any championship team's puzzle.

There's likely no person on earth more aware of all this than James Wiseman himself. The ball is in his court to stave off that worst case scenario and become the star big man Warriors fans know he can become.