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Warriors-James-Wiseman

Why the Warriors should keep the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft

The Golden State Warriors will certainly weigh-in their options in the coming weeks after securing the second overall selection of the 2020 NBA Draft scheduled on October 16.

The once invincible dynasty found themselves in unfamiliar territory, picking in the lottery after an NBA-worst 15-50 slate in the 2019-20 campaign.  While most teams get giddy with excitement for having a high selection, the Warriors are reportedly leaning towards trading away the coveted pick. Re-building, after all, is the last thing on their minds since they seek to return to their winning ways next season.

“The Splash Brothers”, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, are expected to be 100 percent healthy next year. Former Defensive Player of the Year winner Draymond Green is still in tow, while Andrew Wiggins adds another dimension to their offense.  Add in the fact that this year’s draft isn’t exactly as deep as the previous ones, making it enticing for the Dubs to flip the pick for an already established player.

While they could certainly get great trade value for the lottery pick, it actually is in Golden State’s best interest to keep that selection.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have first dibs and all signs point to them selecting Georgia standout Anthony Edwards. Minny already has Karl-Anthony Towns, so it’s unlikely they will try to pair him with the best big man in the draft, James Wiseman.

As intriguing as LaMelo Ball is, the Dubs definitely can’t go wrong with choosing the 7-foot-1 prospect out of the University of Memphis.

Given their lack of a true center, the Warriors fielded one of the smallest line-ups in the 2019-20 campaign and was bullied by much bigger teams. The 19-year-old Wiseman completely erases those concerns if he does end up in the Bay Area. But for some reason, some pundits are still not sold on the former Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year.

The concerns are indeed understandable, given Wiseman only played three games for the Tigers in the NCAA after figuring in a messy dispute for his eligibility.

But in those three games, the lefty slotman notched impressive numbers of 19.7 points on 76.9 percent shooting from the field, along with 10.3 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks in 23 minutes.

While the Warriors’ success is mainly due to their amazing guard play, it is worth noting that they had serviceable 7-footers to anchor the paint during their championship runs. Andrew Bogut was vital to Golden State’s title conquest in 2015, while JaVale McGee had a career resurgence for the team in 2017 and 2018. It’s unclear if Wiseman will develop into the same defensive monster, but he does have all the right tools to be one.

The Tennessee-native already possesses an impressive NBA-ready built, complemented by his freakish 7-foot-6 wingspan. Judging by his brief stint in college, Wiseman also seems a lot more polished offensively (particularly in the low block) compared to the previous centers the Dubs have had.

While his post-moves do need a bit of work, Wiseman runs the floor really well for a man of his size. He also has good hands, which comes in handy if he does team up with the Dubs’ assortment of playmakers. Wiseman is already receiving some comparisons with two-time NBA champ Chris Bosh, mainly because they are both left-handed and around the same size.

Wiseman’s game, however, is not as graceful as Bosh’s was. He seems to favor power and athleticism — which isn’t exactly a bad thing for the Warriors. The only concern so far is if Wiseman can hit the long ball. After all, having a traditional big who cannot stretch the floor might be worrisome in head coach Steve Kerr’s offense. But the Dubs already have shooting covered and Wiseman simply needs to give them an inside presence who can set screens, corral rebounds, and finish lobs.

The Warriors, meanwhile, have long been linked to possibly acquiring reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo when he becomes available this offseason. If they could put together a sign-and-trade deal with the Bucks for a package involving the second overall pick, then, by all means, they should pull the trigger.

But in reality, that potential deal just seems too far-fetched. Let’s say the Warriors make a run for other superstars like a Bradley Beal or maybe Joel Embiid. Those A1 players certainly won’t come cheap.

Apart from multiple picks in the coming years, the Dubs will likely have to part ways with several of the young talents that they already have. Teams will certainly demand promising guys like Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, Ky Bowman, and Marquesse Chriss. Why decimate your present and future in hopes of adding one star-caliber player?

A healthy Steph Curry and Klay Thompson should be enough for the Dubs to return to the postseason. Granted they might fall short in getting out of the West, but the Warriors brass also need to think long-term on this one. Drafting and developing Wiseman is the right call to make for the Dubs. He gives the Warriors a nice building block to build around and a nice insurance piece in the event that injuries once again decimate the team.