James Wiseman won over Warriors one night in Miami
In the 2020 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors made the decision to select Memphis big man James Wiseman with the second overall pick.
Since then, Wiseman has become an important part of the Warriors’ rotation, averaging 12 points on 51.5% shooting and 5.9 rebounds in 24 games.
But there was a time when the Warriors weren’t sure if they would use their second overall pick on Wiseman, Georgia’s Anthony Edwards, or LaMelo Ball. The Dubs also considered trading the pick to land another All-Star caliber player to place alongside All-Star Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, especially after a season-ending injury to Klay Thompson.
But according to Wes Goldberg of Mercury News, the Warriors top brass knew that they would use their pick on Wiseman after meeting him one night in Miami back in October. In that meeting, Wiseman talked about his experience growing up with a single mother who worked multiple jobs and how he had to overcome a lot of adversity just to continue his studies.
Goldberg’s report also states that during the interview, Wiseman asked the Warriors top brass, which included head coach Steve Kerr, owner Joe Lacob, and general manager Bob Myers, about how he fits with the team’s culture and his role for the team, which impressed them.
“Clearly impressive,” Myers said about meeting Wiseman. “I wonder how I would perform as a 19-year-old with a bunch of 40-, 50-, 60-year-olds at dinner.”
Wiseman was clearly talented, which was why the Warriors considered using their pick on him. But it was the challenges that he faced on his way to becoming one of the best college prospects and his calm demeanor during that interview that convinced the front office that he had what it takes to be the face of the franchise in the future.