Why did the Warriors pick James Wiseman over LaMelo Ball? Explaining the 2020 NBA Draft decision

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When it comes to certain NBA draft classes, choosing which prospect to pick with the No. 1 overall pick isn’t a great choice at all – let’s just take Tim Duncan. Just take LeBron James. Just take Anthony Davis. Sometimes that’s the end of the conversation.

That wasn’t the case in the run-up to the 2020 NBA Draft. There were several commercial rumors involving teams at the top of the board, particularly the Timberwolves and Warriors, because there didn’t seem to be a superstar that couldn’t be missed available. Most of the draft drills pointed to LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman as the top three picks in some order, although the possibility of draft days being shuffled was great.

After a fantastic rookie season and a good start to the 2021-22 season, Ball is making those old debates sound silly. The Hornets point guard has been seen as the cornerstone of the franchise early in his career, leaving Warriors fans wondering what kind of impact he might have had on their team.

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Why did the Warriors pick James Wiseman over LaMelo Ball?

Once Minnesota knocked Edwards off the board with the top pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, Golden State pinned Wiseman at No. 2. During a recent appearance on the “Warriors Plus-Minus” podcast, Athletic’s Tim Kawakami explained why the Warriors felt that Wiseman was a better fit with the team than Ball.

“I’m pretty sure one of the reasons they didn’t look at LaMelo Ball any more was that it was a small duplicate of [Stephen Curry]”Kawakami said.” Now if you’re looking for something after Steph they’re clearly with Wiseman and [Jonathan] Kuminga and [Moses] Moody and [Jordan] Poole a little, okay. But they were also trying to split the atom. They were trying to get someone who was good for the future, but who was not going to be a duplicate either. [of Steph].

“And you know, I think we all hear this. Steph is going to make $ 50 million a year, and Klay [Thompson’s] earning $ 40 million a year. Do you want to add another guard who will need the ball in his hands? That turned out to be wrong, the miscalculation about how good Ball was. But I think that’s what it was: they wanted a piece that was different than what they had, but was also good for five years on its own. “

After the draft, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Warriors’ decision was unaffected by Thompson’s injury. The five-time All-Star suffered a torn right Achilles tendon during offseason training in November 2020.

LaMelo Ball’s spectacular start with the Hornets

Ball exploded onto the scene in 2020-21, averaging 15.7 points, 6.1 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 51 games. He won the Rookie of the Year award despite missing a significant portion of the season with a wrist injury. He led all rookies in total assists and finished third in total points and steals.

In addition to her on-court performances, Ball has given Charlotte an identity and direction and drawn national attention to a franchise that had lacked emotion for years. However, for the Hornets to be a consistent winner, Ball will have to learn the nuances of being an NBA point guard and become a more well-rounded player on both ends of the floor.

“Much of his success last year was based on instinct and feeling,” Hornets coach James Borrego said last month. “Now his next step is managing who we are, the people around him and understanding the league in general. So our conversation has revolved around our team, our strengths, our values ​​and the understanding of his teammates.”

When will James Wiseman play for the Warriors?

Wiseman has struggled from the beginning in part due to health problems. The 20-year-old was limited to 39 games in 2020-21, and has yet to play this season after undergoing knee surgery to repair a right meniscus tear in April.

The Warriors offered good news earlier this week, announcing that Wiseman has been authorized to participate in team practices. Wiseman told reporters that he is open to the idea of ​​playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League before returning to NBA games.

“Of course. I’d like to go there so I can sharpen myself physically and mentally, and I’m doing it,” Wiseman said. “So whatever happens within that time, I’m depressed about whatever … I’m getting there. Like I said, I just need a lot of runs and a lot of playing time. But other than that, I’m getting there, just taking it one day. at once “.

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