Because it’s so rare for an NBA team wrapping up a dynasty to have a high-lottery pick, much of the attention during last year’s NBA Draft was trained on the Golden State Warriors, and whether they would pick their reported favorite James Wiseman, or someone more flashy with a high ceiling like LaMelo Ball. In a new story today from Wes Goldberg of the Mercury News, new details arrived of how Wiseman sealed his fate to head to the Bay.
According to the story, Wiseman was invited last October to dinner at an upscale restaurant in Miami’s South Beach district, where he met with Steve Kerr and other decision makers within the franchise. The poise and maturity Wiseman showed there answered most of what Golden State had been wondering about how he would fit into their culture. In fact, Wiseman’s choice to flip the script and ask the Warriors dynasty-builders how he would fit into what they had crafted in the organization went a long way, too.
“Clearly impressive,” Myers told Goldberg. “I wonder how I would perform as a 19-year-old with a bunch of 40-, 50-, 60-year-olds at dinner.”
Wiseman’s mother and his AAU coach made sure he had the chance to play basketball at a high level and was a polished young man off the court, which led to the fateful encounter with Warriors brass. But it’s understandable that after Wiseman’s one season at Memphis ended with confusion after yet another NCAA investigation of a top recruit, NBA teams would have questions about his character and mental fortitude.
But as demonstrated by the way Draymond Green has taken Wiseman under his wing this season, the match between player and franchise has been a success in the early months. Ball may be the front-runner for Rookie of the Year and Anthony Edwards may dominate highlight reels, but the Warriors still feel just as confident in their blooming franchise center as they did last fall when he sat with them and confidently handled the high-stakes meeting in Miami.