Golden State Warriors rookie big man James Wiseman recently earned praises and drew comparisons with a young Dwight Howard during his Orlando Magic days. Lofty expectations were set on Wiseman as the eight-time All-Star in Howard was highly regarded as one of the best players in the league at the time.
NBC Sports Bay Area analyst and former NBA veteran Dorrell Wright shared that Wiseman had a more developed skill-set on top of his athleticism which was better than that of Howard's when he first came to the league back in 2004. Hard to imagine saying he was more athletic than a hyper-athlete like Howard, but Dorrell Wright did have an up close and personal look as he belonged in the same '04 draft class.
“He reminds me of Dwight Howard. When we came out in '04, athletic guy who can run the floor hard, touch the top of the backboard if he wants to, but a little more skill with the ball in his hand and in the post. So I'm really looking forward to watching him,” he said via NBC Sports.
Wright also noted the 19-year-old's level of play in the collegiate ranks and how he has physically improved in preparation for his upcoming rookie campaign in Golden State.
“I was able to see him playing early on in Memphis, and I've been able to follow him the last three months and seeing how he's changing his body, how much stronger he is, how much faster he's gotten,” Wright told host Grant Liffmann. “So just those skills that I've seen in those three games, it's a scary scary sight where he is now. Mature body, more NBA reps under his belt, so I'm really looking forward to seeing him out there.
Despite not being the same player that he was several years ago, Dwight Howard has been able to carve out an eventful playing career since he was picked No.1 in the 2004 NBA Draft. He copped three-straight Defensive Player of the Year awards from 2009 to 2011 and garnered five consecutive first-team All-NBA selections from 2008 to 2012. Howard further cemented his legacy by becoming a key player for the Los Angeles Lakers' championship run in 2020.
On the other hand, Wiseman managed to showcase his wares on a brief stint with the Memphis Tigers which was cut short due to legal issues surrounding his recruitment. Selected No. 2 overall by the Warriors, he will aim to contribute right away as he helps the team return to their previous form as consistent title contenders.
Being compared to an outstanding player like Dwight Howard can be daunting for any rookie. But James Wiseman will have a real opportunity with the Warriors to prove that he can live up to the lofty expectations.