Most of the great men in the NBA would have given up the ball. James Wiseman had just blocked a hook shot from Mason Plumlee, and the basketball fell into his arms. However, Wiseman is not like most great men in the NBA.
The Warriors rookie center, the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, kept the ball to himself to the opposite rim. It took him five dribbles and a Euro-step before the track was cleared for a fierce right-handed slam. The game, which took place in Golden State’s 116-106 win over the Pistons on Tuesday night, reminded Warriors head coach Steve Kerr of Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“He made some big plays where we got saves and scores at the other end,” Kerr told reporters after the game. “And, of course, his ‘Giannis game’ was pretty impressive too, in transition.”
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Wiseman was in the middle of his quietest NBA game on Tuesday night when he made this remarkable game. The 7-foot center from Memphis finished with six points and six rebounds against Detroit. But he has already started his NBA career hot with 19 and then 18 points in his first two games. He’s averaging 1.5 blocks per game, and even at his size, Wiseman showed the away touchdown that made him a tantalizing draft prospect, nailing five points to 3 in four games.
Despite being a highly touted high school prospect, Wiseman was a bit of an NBA Draft mystery after playing just three games in Memphis. before being suspended. That didn’t stop Golden State from taking him with the second pick, only after Anthony Edwards of Georgia went to the Timberwolves.
Wiseman missed training camp because of COVID-19 protocols, so he’s basically discovering himself in the NBA in real time. Sometimes that translates to “SportsCenter” Top 10 games like Tuesday’s dunk. It won’t always be easy for the Warriors this season with Klay Thompson out for the year and Draymond Green yet to play one game. But Wiseman is the future, and he looks brighter and brighter with each “Giannis game”.
“He’s clearly the focal point of the future when it comes to how we build this team with Steph (Curry) and Klay and Draymond, the veterans we have,” Kerr said last week, by The Athletic. “I can now throw James in there, like, it’s a huge part of this puzzle.”