How do you project what a 19-year-old big man will do in his rookie season, after playing just three games in his collegiate career? Well, it surely will not be easy. After being picked No. 2 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, 7-foot-1 center James Wiseman now carries the load of high expectations on his strong shoulders. Unlike most franchises that select at the top of the draft, the Warriors will be expected to reach the playoffs, even after the loss of Klay Thompson to a torn Achilles tendon. Usually a young, highly drafted center would have plenty of playing time to learn on the fly for a poor team. His mistakes would be teaching moments, and his confidence would not be shattered by being relegated to the bench. For Wiseman, the stakes are different. Expected defensive miscues will not be easily accepted, and he will not have the freedom to shoot at will. Instead, he will have to play in a role that highlights his best and most matured skills, which most likely will be limited at such a young and raw age.
The comparisons therefore to contemporary NBA star centers in their rookie seasons should not be considered apples-to-apples. However, they could give a sense of how quickly some excelled.