James Wiseman is regarded as one of the better prospects in the NBA Draft but is arguably the biggest high-risk, high-reward prospect in the 2020 class and unless one is patient; this one isn’t going to pay off.
The Tennessee native averaged 19.7 points and 10.3 rebounds a game while at Memphis but played only 69 minutes of college basketball before getting suspended by the NCAA and then later dropping out.
The former Memphis man was considered the best prospect in his class but having a limited sample size in college has seen Anthony Edwards overtake him as the no.1 prospect in the class.
Wiseman had a lot to prove in college. However, he never had the chance and his motor and feel are two areas of concern that have followed him for years. The season was supposed to be the time where Wiseman answered questions about his skillset on the floor but instead, the same questions will follow him into the NBA.
The pre-draft process was going to be crucial for Wiseman to essentially confront doubts about his potential performance at the next level but the center has been deprived of that opportunity to do so.
With the situation and circumstances surrounding the NBA because of the coronavirus, pre-draft interviews and individual workouts are unlikely to happen. Information will be extracted, especially on someone with such a limited sample size, whenever the draft combine happens (or if it does). Wiseman will be bombarded with questions, especially when some might argue Wiseman bailed on his teammates.
The center has the potential and build of an impactful two-way player. Wiseman has great size and great physique measuring at 7-1 with a 7-5 wingspan. That profile gives him similar size to the likes of De’Andre Jordan, Steven Adams, Karl-Anthony Towns and Myles Turner.
Wiseman is extremely athletic, has the energy to run up and down the floor, rebound effectively at both ends of the floor and explode around the rim for dunks, layups and put-backs. The former Memphis man is most effective on offense, in particular when closer to the rim. Wiseman made 26 shots in his three games at Memphis and all but three were either layups or dunks, raising further questions as to whether Wiseman can play as a modern-day NBA three-point shooting center.
In order for Wiseman to succeed, he needs the right situation because unlike Edwards and to a lesser extent Obi Toppin, he is raw, unpolished and has a limited skill set at this point in his career. Even if he had a terrific player development coach behind him, it is difficult to see him in a major role until at least his third season.
Essentially speaking, the Tennessee native is just a pick-and-roll finisher and lob threat as it stands, offensively. For a team like the Cavs with plenty of bigs Kevin Love, Larry Nance, Tristan Thompson, Andre Drummond, etc. a prospect like Wiseman isn’t what the Cavs need.
Some of the ex Memphis player’s strengths hold significant value rim-running, rebounding and shot-blocking. Wiseman has great movement, solid length, agility and a strong wingspan so will interest many teams. If in the right situation, the right system and right head coach, he could be an elite defensive anchor in time.
Nonetheless, Wiseman is a gamble. Who will be the first to take a chance on him?