Should the Warriors Draft James Wiseman Or Trade Back?

Last season you would have been considered a lunatic if you predicted that the Golden State Warriors would hold the NBA’s worst record in 2020. Absolutely nuts, but you would not have been wrong.

The Golden State Warriors will be guaranteed a top-5 pick in this year’s NBA draft assuming the NBA goes straight into the playoffs upon resuming league activities. They would have a 14% chance of obtaining the #1 overall pick in the NBA draft lottery and could utilize that to their advantage or stay put.

It was recently reported that the Warriors have former Memphis center James Wiseman atop of their draft board despite reports in early August that the Warriors were not “high” on the idea of picking Wiseman with the #1 overall selection.

At 7’1 Wiseman would give the Warriors true size at the center position, which is an element they lacked for the greater portion of the season. Wiseman is a freak athletically and can utilize that athleticism to his advantage on both ends of the floor. He has the tools to become one of the top paint protectors in the league. Not to mention that he would improve tremendously within the Warriors defensive scheme alongside defensive minded players like Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Marquese Chriss.

Wiseman attacks the paint with force and is almost unstoppable when he has a full head of steam. Having him run the floor in transition alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson would be a scary sight for opposing defenders. He can play with his back to the basket and has a decent fade jumper. He has the tools to take advantage of mismatches in the paint and would offer the Warriors another option in half court sets.

One knock against Wiseman entering the draft is he only completed 3 games at Memphis before he was deemed ineligible by the NCAA. With such a small sample size would picking Wiseman #1 overall be worth the risk? That is where the option of trading back comes to question.

The Warriors received a $17.2 million trade exemption for trading Andre Iguodala last summer and could flip their top-5 pick to utilize some or all that trade exemption.

For example, lets say the Warriors obtained the #1 pick in the NBA draft and that the 76ers are determined to trade up to draft Georgia guard Anthony Edwards. The 76ers could hypothetically make this offer to Golden State:

  • The 76ers get the 1st overall pick, the Warriors gets the 20th overall pick and Josh Richardson. Who would be obtained via the $17.2 million trade exemption. (And would still have $5.2 million to spend elsewhere)
  • The Warriors would get their replacement small forward and could use Andrew Wiggins contract to pursue Giannis Antetokounmpo in free agency in 2020.

The Warriors are unlikely to trade back in the draft after a 15-50 season, but I would not that possibility out if the Warriors do not covet any of the top 5 prospects.

The Warriors could opt to select Wiseman if they are awarded #1 overall pick, or they could trade back in the draft. What will they do? I guess we will just have to wait and see.

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