The Golden State Warriors drafted James Wiseman with the second pick as LaMelo Ball fell to third on his way to the Charlotte Hornets.
Wiseman and Ball were next best on the board after the Minnesota Timberwolves used the top selection on Georgia guard Anthony Edwards in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Keen to return to the summit of the NBA following a forgettable 2019-20 season, the Warriors turned to Memphis center Wiseman.
Wiseman – compared to DeAndre Jordan and Hassan Whiteside – played only three games for Memphis last season, but his blend of size and athleticism gives him upside.
He had a points/assists/rebounds average of 30.7 across his three games, dominating on the boards as he put up 10.7 total rebounds per game.
“Versatility, be able to rebound, run the floor, block shots and just space the floor out for my size,” Wiseman told ESPN when asked what he could bring to the Warriors.
“I’ve been playing a lot of pickup games and stuff this summer. I’ve just been improving my game every day so I’m just ready and I’m prepared.”
Following Kevin Durant’s departure to the Brooklyn Nets, and injuries to All-Stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors went 15-50 and missed the playoffs after reaching every Finals between 2015 and 2019.
Ball had been projected to go first, as was Edwards, but the 19-year-old’s name was called out third midweek.
LaMelo Ball, whose older brother and New Orleans Pelicans star Lonzo was drafted second in 2017, will move to Charlotte after impressing with the Illawarra Hawks in the NBL.
Ball was crowned the 2019-20 NBL Rookie of the Year during his stint with the Illawarra Hawks in Australia, where he averaged 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 12 games before a foot injury cut short his season.
He also became the youngest player in NBL history to record a triple-double after posting 32 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds against the Cairns Taipans in November last year, while he also had three double-doubles.