After being selected No. 2 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, James Wiseman had a tough rookie season. Not only was his on-court performance inconsistent, but he couldn’t stay healthy.
Wiseman played in just 39 games (27 starts) due to injury while averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest. He shot 62.8 percent from the free throw line and 31.6 percent from three.
In the modern NBA, the value of the center seems to have fallen in recent drafts. To some, it was surprising that Wiseman went in the top-three. However, Deandre Ayton was the top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and has turned out to be a star.
“To me, the most interesting thing has just been watching Deandre Ayton. And I talk to James and text him, and I’m just so inspired by what Ayton has been able to do, and I think there’s no reason why James can’t follow that same path. What Phoenix has done with Ayton is they’ve really streamlined his game. You look back a couple years ago and he was kind of all over the map. You could tell how gifted he was but you weren’t exactly sure what he was, and they’ve figured it out.”
While Ayton put up much better numbers his rookie season than Wiseman, his game has certainly come a long way to now. If Wiseman can make strides over the next few seasons, perhaps he can make the postseason impact that Ayton has over the past month.