“It Killed Me When They Drafted Him”: Traded After Only 813 Days With Warriors, Fans Recall Drafting Stephen Curry’s NBA Champion Teammate

Published 09/11/2023, 1:04 PM EDT

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The Golden State Warriors roster has undergone many changes since they last won their NBA Championship. However, they have decided to keep their Big 3 – Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green intact. Conversely, GSW decided to trade away a few of their draft picks that helped the Dubs earn their fourth title. One such draft pick whose journey with the Dubs ended after only 813 days became the subject of discussion on social media.

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James Wiseman’s journey with the GSW comes to an end

The Golden State Warriors drafted James Wiseman as the second-overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. However, his career in the NBA has been injury-prone, restricting him from reaching his full potential. Soon after scoring a season-high 25 points, along with 6 rebounds, he succumbed to a torn right meniscus. Although his surgery was successful, his lower body activity was restricted. Following the injury, he was sidelined for the rest of the season.

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In the following year, he was called to play for Santa Cruz Warriors in the NBA G League before returning to the NBA. Just when things were getting better for Wiseman, then came another career-threatening injury. He felt something pop in his knee during a game against the Houston Rockets. The injury did not just affect his game, it also affected his mental health. The injury opened up a discourse on the internet about how LaMelo Ball would have been a better pick.

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Despite the injury, Wiseman won his first NBA championship with the Dubsnation due to his work ethic and dedication. But soon after, he sprained his ankle during a 3-on-3 scrimmage, which cost him the rest of the season. After 813 days with the Golden State Warriors, the 7ft center was traded to the Detroit Pistons. His debut with the Pistons was not the best, as he just scored 11 points and five rebounds in a gutting 127-109 loss to the Boston Celtics. However, this just gave the internet another reason to rekindle the previous discourse.

Was James Wiseman the right choice?

In a Reddit post, a user criticized James Wiseman for having a good physique but not knowing how to use it to his advantage. The discussion also compared the former Warriors center to Kevin Garnett, who stands at the same height. One user replied, does he have all the tools? is he as smart as KG? does he have the hands KG had? does he have the Jumper KG had? is he just someone who people told you was really talented and you never put in the work to scout him? he got drafted #2 in the covid year when no one could do the process normally so a team took a huge swing on a top high school prospect that’s it.”

Another user said, Being a physically talented basketball player also involves hand-eye coordination, reflexes, body control, balance, agility, flexibility, etc. From what I’ve seen of him, Wiseman has pretty much none of that. You throw him a lob, he’ll crush it by being tall and jumping high. You throw him a pocket pass in traffic, and he’ll flub it because he can’t sync his hands with his eyes.”

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One user empathized with the big center, saying, It killed me when they drafted him. They don’t use his type of big and they wanted to win now, the right choice would’ve been to trade the pick (I’m sure they tried). Hoping Detroit doesn’t give up on him. To be honest it annoys me when the contending team gets a guy in a situation not suited them and the player gets blamed. If you don’t play a pure 5 then why are you drafting him? That being said, I doubt Lamelo would’ve faired very well being a backup to Steph and Poole.”

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One user pointed out the lack of size that affected Team USA in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, I would say the lack of interior bigs playing big in the US is a problem. As gutted as that FIBA roster was, I kept hearing the same thing about the lack of size.”

They stated one reason for Wiseman’s downfall was his reluctance to make body contact. They commented, James Wiseman has all the physical tools to become the next KG. Unfortunately, the way he was developed was terrible. He likes to shoot jump shots, prefers to handle the ball and worst of all, hates body contact.

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However, James Wiseman is still in his formative years in the NBA, with a long career ahead of him. Most of his time till now has been riddled with injuries. Against this backdrop, we need to cut the young center some slack, as he is still learning to use his “physical tools” to his advantage. That being said, it would be interesting to watch him make a healthy comeback with the Detroit Pistons in the upcoming season.

Watch this story: ‘Is Steph Tall, or Are the Girls Short?’: Stephen Curry’s Stature With 6’4 WNBA Star Might Make Dubnation Dubious

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Written by:

Darshita Daga

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Darshita Daga is an NBA Writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing Bachelor’s in English, she’s a fervent sports enthusiast with a keen interest in sports journalism, specifically covering the NBA. She feels that words have the potential to capture the spirit of a game, evaluate moves, and portray the emotions that occur both on and off the court.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja

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