Entering the 2020 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors were one of the more intriguing teams in the lottery.
Coming off a season where their superstar players were ravaged by injury, the Warriors broke a streak of five straight NBA Finals appearances by recording the worst record in the league.
MORE: Instant analysis of EVERY pick in the 2020 Draft
Speculation of just what the Warriors would do with the No. 2 overall pick mounted in the weeks prior to the draft, with another title in their sights. Ultimately, the Warriors selected James Wiseman out of Memphis with the pick, bringing the athletic big man to San Francisco to play alongside Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
Let's take a look at what this selection means for the Warriors.
The fit on the Warriors roster
Through the Warriors' dominant run, the center position has been a revolving door.
From Andrew Bogut to JaVale McGee, to Zaza Pachulia, Golden State have rotated veterans through the position, happy to get little in the way of box score stats in return for a specific role that compliments the star-studded roster.
Keeping in mind that free agency is yet to play out, the often injured Kevon Looney is currently the only center on the Warriors roster. With that in mind, Wiseman projects as a player who could legitimately be an opening night starter for Steve Kerr's squad.
Standing 7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan, Wiseman won't turn 20 until March next year, and while he doesn't fit the bill of the usual veteran presence at the position for the Warriors, his skillset is one that makes a lot of sense for the franchise.
Why it works
NBA.com draft expert, Kyle Irving, had this to say about Wiseman in his last mock before the draft:
"Wiseman is a super athletic big man who has flashed a ton of potential as a rim protector and rim-runner in the NBA. Even in an age where some teams look to play smaller and faster, his game still translates because of his speed and potential as a perimeter shooter."
Wiseman played just three games with Memphis last season before a series of events led to his decision to withdraw from the school to focus on the draft. In those three games, he averaged 19.7 points and 10.3 rebounds.
Y'all ready for this?- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 19, 2020
🎥 @Memphis_MBB pic.twitter.com/1yfPTFVZun
His value as a rim protector will be a welcome boost to the Warriors, with the 19-year-old swatting three shots a game in his short time in college.
We know the Golden State offence likes to get out in transition, and the big man will add a significant lob threat for Curry and the other Warriors ball handlers. It's rare that a top pick gets to go to a franchise expected to immediately contend for a title, which will allow Wiseman to play a role with reduced expectations.
Are there any concerns?
Similar to a lot of young big men entering the NBA, Wiseman will need time to develop strength to match it with the dwindling amount of traditional big men in the league.
Flying around on the defensive end and swatting shots is one thing, battling in the post will be another, though, it must be noted that the days of the traditional big man working on the block are well behind us.
The trajectory of improvement in his outside shot will also be something to watch, with Curry and Green willing distributors who could find him in the corners or as a trailer at will if he has the confidence and ability to knock down the three with some consistency.
Wiseman becoming an above average outside shooter feels like cream in this Warriors team however, given what we know about players like Bogut and McGee thriving in this system despite being allergic to letting it fly from beyond the arc.
The Klay Thompson development
The ceiling for the Warriors in 2021 has been lowered after an injury sustained by Thompson, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon just hours before the team selected Wiseman.
Warriors PR confirmed the injury shortly after initial reports surfaced, later adding that "he is expected to miss the 2020-21 season."
Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson suffered a torn right Achilles tendon, an MRI confirmed today in Los Angeles. Thompson suffered the injury yesterday in a workout in Southern California. He is expected to miss the 2020-21 season.- Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) November 19, 2020
With Thompson set to miss his second consecutive season, a player like Andrew Wiggins would be expected to pick up some of the offensive load, though, Wiseman could find himself with a few added offensive touches that would not have been there previously.
Was it the right pick?
You don't often get an opportunity to draft in the top 3, but those opportunities are even less frequent in the middle of a championship window.
Given the unusual circumstances the Warriors find themselves in, the speculation that the pick would be traded was rampant in the lead up to the draft, but if they were to take the pick, Wiseman was the obvious move.
While the All-Star Golden State trio has many years ahead of them, Curry is 32, while Thompson and Green are 30, meaning the urgency to cash in on another title run is high.
Wiseman provides an immediate fit for the now, while also carrying significant upside into the future. While LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards would have been fine selections, Wiseman is exactly what the Warriors need.
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