The Golden State Warriors had the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
It was a rare opportunity for a perennial contender to pick up a franchise cornerstone, so the front office knew they couldn’t mess it up.
With Anthony Edwards definitely coming off the board to the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 1, Golden State was choosing between James Wiseman and LaMelo Ball. They opted for the former.
Two years later, it is now clear they made a huge mistake.
Ball is a budding young NBA star, whereas Wiseman has struggled to crack the rotation despite the Warriors desperately needing front court support.
The shady way Golden State allegedly went about dealing with Ball and Wiseman also left a sour taste in some people’s mouths.
This past week Warriors owner Joe Lacob spoke with Tim Kawakami of the Athletic and got very honest about what happened in 2020.
“Our entire front office and head coach wanted to draft James Wiseman,” he confessed.
“We were universal in that regard. I know people like to make up stuff, we all loved him. And I think we all are still very high on him.”
Lacob went on to reiterate that the Warriors weren’t giving up on Wiseman, despite his initial struggles.
“I do think he’s very, very talented,” Lacob continued.
“He’s also in an organization and on a team which is trying to win championships, it’s different than if you’re playing somewhere where they’re just throwing everybody out there.”
It’s a 3-team race for Christian Wood if the Mavs decide to trade him. https://t.co/1tgI7JTCAN
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 11, 2023
Obviously Lacob can rationalize his decision however he wants, but the proof here is in the pudding. Wiseman is currently averaging 6.8 points in 12.8 minutes per game. Ball is putting up 23.1 points and 8.6 assists in 34.3 minutes per game.
It is what it is. Decisions were made in 2020 – and they were definitely the wrong ones.
Maybe Wiseman will turn into a decent player. Maybe he won’t. But either way, it is a virtual guarantee that Ball will go down in NBA history as the superior talent.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.