James Wiseman is a prospect that is a high-risk, high-reward pick. But the package the Orlando Magic would have to give up might push them the other way.
The Orlando Magic have a tough decision coming up in the 2020 NBA Draft.
This will be a draft that Orlando has to hit. Before the pick, Orlando is going to decide whether to stay at 15, or trade to move up in the draft. They seem to have the pieces and the motivation for change enough to take a chance at the top of the Draft.
Even in a draft without a top, surefire star prospect, it is still an opportunity that would be tough to pass up.
Whether it is chasing a scoring wing like Anthony Edwards or a dynamic playmaker like LaMelo Ball, the Magic have options. They could also look to reset their center position and take a big man like James Wiseman.
Wiseman is likely to go in the top three as an athletic, rim-running center. Like many of the top prospects and even some of the intriguing shooters, Orlando will have to trade up.
For someone like Wiseman, the question is whether or not the Magic believe he is the answer to propel this team to the next level. And that answer is exceptionally difficult to answer. Even with the Magic’s needs throughout the roster, they must weigh their opportunities carefully and what goals they want to accomplish.
When it comes to selecting Wiseman and moving up to get him, the risk is too great.
It starts with Wiseman’s lack of game tape and inexperience. Even if his short run with the Memphis Tigers was impressive statistically.
Wiseman is just not a complete prospect at this point. And not the kind of player the Magic should pin their franchise on.
Due to the NCAA deeming Wiseman ineligible last year at Memphis, he only played three games. So his 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game were from a small sample size. But his skill set is undeniable. Wiseman can attack off the dribble and score in different ways. For a big man, he has a handle that allows him to lead a fast break and speed to run down the floor.
But his offensive game is not complete. He struggles to make decisions once he gets into the defense. He struggles to read defenses and pass out and also struggles to finish plays such as lob and finishing in traffic.
Wiseman does not have much range outside the paint. He is a traditional rim-running center. This is a league that has started to phase those kinds of players out unless they are elite at that skill.
Or unless they can defend at a high level. Wiseman has shown potential there. But it is hard to say if he can become an elite defensive prospect.
He is also incomplete defensively. He is a great rim protector and has a strong presence on the glass. His size also helps defensively as he is 7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-6 wingspan. But he struggles to move side to side, which leads him to struggle in pick and roll coverage.
He has a lot of potential, but his potential does go both ways. The abilities he has now can lead to Wiseman becoming a great player, but if he does not improve on his weaknesses he may never reach his potential.
The talent is undeniably there. If a team held a top-three Draft pick, taking him would be a no-brainer. But the question for the Magic is whether he is worth trading up to get. Would he be worth trading a starter to go up and get?
Wiseman is a prospect that is a high-risk, high-reward pick. And the package Orlando would have to give up might push them the other way.
The most realistic way that puts Orlando in a position to draft Wiseman is going to be to trade with the Golden State Warriors. The Magic would have to trade Nikola Vucevic or Aaron Gordon and the 15th pick to get the second pick in the draft — plus most likely Andrew Wiggins. And even that might not be enough.
The framework for a deal exists to get up there. But the question is whether that is worth it to this team.
That move would change a lot about the roster long and short term. For the short term, the Magic would be trading away their best player and likely would miss the playoffs the following year. Then in the long term, this would indicate that Orlando would be ready to move on from Mohamed Bamba.
That feels like abandoning a young player too early.
Bamba was playing well before the break as the game was finally slowing down for him. Bamba was getting better at getting into position defensively. Unfortunately, due to COVID complications, he was not able to play a significant role when the season resumed and in the Playoffs.
Wiseman may yet be worth that risk or worth moving on. But that is a determination for the Magic to make. And there is a reason so many teams at the top of this draft are looking to trade.
Overall, while Wiseman may end up being a great player, Orlando should go in a different direction in the draft.
Wiseman is not a for a sure player, and while he has positives, he also has negatives as a player, and this pick would cost Orlando to move up in the draft.
Orlando has holes on this roster, and the Magic should take the draft to fill in those holes.