Last year, a lot of people thought that the Golden State Warriors were going to trade their second-overall pick for an All-Star. Others thought that they would go with LaMelo Ball to lead the post-Stephen Curry era.
At the end of the day, the Warriors went with James Wiseman, who was once touted as the best prospect in his class but who also came with plenty of doubts after barely playing in college.
Looking back to this day, Warriors owner Joe Lacob seems pretty satisfied with that choice. Despite his early struggles, he still thinks he's a generational player:
“To be honest with you, he was my No. 1 forever, basically,” Lacob told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. “I just think he’s a once-in-a-decade kind of guy. I would argue that, other than (Joel) Embiid, I don’t know that there’s another center prospect that’s come along in the last decade that you would put in the same category. Different players, maybe. But this guy is immensely talented."
Lacob also raved about Wiseman's work ethic and personality. More than that, he believes that he can be a modern-day big man and add some range to his game:
“When you see him in person, it’s pretty compelling. And when we watched him do his workout, it’s pretty compelling. Some of the things he does on the court for a guy his size, he’s very mobile, really good ballhandling for someone his size. Anyone who says he can’t shoot is crazy. He can shoot. He’s going to get better; he can shoot. And he’s obviously going to be a very good defender, he’s going to be a rim protector and shot blocker, so there’s a heckuva lot of things to like. And I just think he’s a great fit as well with what we needed and with our team," Lacob added.
Wiseman's rookie season wasn't as impressive as advertised. Then again, his modest averages of 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game on 51.9% shooting were trending up before he fell with an injury.
Sometimes, it takes big men a little longer to figure things out. He's still young, so maybe he'll prove Lacob's point somewhere down the line.