Ouch: The Warriors Drafted James Wiseman Over LaMelo Ball, Only To Trade Wiseman To The Pistons Less Than 3 Seasons Later

Brock Williams-Smith. Getty Images.


"The Golden State Warriors are trading center James Wiseman to the Detroit Pistons as part of a multiteam deal that sends Saddiq Bey to the Atlanta Hawks and Gary Payton II from the Portland Trail Blazers back to the Warriors, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday."

What an active NBA trade deadline it was. Like DAMN. Barstool's own Patrick Beverley is headed from the Lakers to Orlando, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Not that it's likely to go under the radar, but the Warriors' decision to throw the towel in on James Wiseman caps off one of the biggest whiffs in NBA Draft history. It's perhaps not as significant-feeling since LaMelo Ball's Hornets are in contention for the No. 1 overall pick. Nevertheless, this relative dynasty Golden State has enjoyed would've really benefited from Ball's presence to say the least.

Here's the throwback article from Greenie in 2021 about how the Warriors apparently told LaMelo they'd draft him, only to not do that whatsoever.

Giphy Images.

You can always play the "what if?" game about the Dubs and whether Ball could've been ready to step up and contribute to a championship team so early like Jordan Poole did. My hunch is he'd have answered the bell. LaMelo has been in the spotlight basically since he was an early teen. All the noise and hype that his father Lavar stirs up is just that. Noise and hype. Ever since Lonzo entered the NBA and LaMelo after him, the Ball Bros. seem to be all about basketball and little else. Lonzo has evolved his skill set tremendously since turning pro, and LaMelo, in my opinion, lived up to the hype and even exceeded it. These guys have strong work ethics, or so it seems from the outside.

Anyway the point is, LaMelo's presence could've sacrificed or sabotaged the rise to stardom for Jordan Poole. Any rational person would take LaMelo over Poole any day. Then you factor in how things escalated so much at a practice that Draymond Green punched Poole in the freaking face. Clearly some chemistry issues and personalities not meshing. Related: the defending NBA champs are just 28-27 as of this writing.

With Klay Thompson close but not quite back to his old form and Steph Curry sidelined with a leg injury, Ball could've been such a boon to the Warriors' bid for a second straight title. While it's great that Wiseman's departure meant the return of key reserve Gary Payton II, that hardly makes up for the complete lack of impact he had when he should've been a franchise player.

When you're drafted No. 2 overall, expectations are typically that you become the new face of the franchise. Wiseman had the benefit of not being thrust into action right away, yet he still couldn't capitalize on just about the most perfect situation you could be in. 

This was supposed to be awesome. Plugging in a phenomenal athlete like Wiseman at the 5 spot was going to give Golden State more frontcourt offense to complement Draymond. What happened instead was Wiseman getting injured often. He played 39 games as a rookie, missed the entire next season and was up for only 21 of the Dubs' games in 2022-23 before getting sent to the Pistons.


What an unceremonious exit. What a bust Wiseman was in Golden State. He's an incredible talent and maybe the change of scenery/ripe opportunity for a larger role in Detroit will suit him. 

Then again, the Pistons are such a bad 14-42 squad and are pretty much ruined for the foreseeable future if their tank job for Victor Wembanyama doesn't work out.

How about that? LaMelo's Hornets and Wiseman's new destination Detroit in a race to the bottom in the East.

Warriors, YA BLEW IT. Just listening to this breakdown from Woj has to hurt. YOU WERE RIGHT THEREEEEE.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok