SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — James Wiseman listed many of Golden State’s stars who are now his teammates as players he plans to watch closely as a lottery-pick NBA rookie.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Do-everything Draymond Green and much-improved big man Kevon Looney.
Wiseman became a part of that group Wednesday night as the Warriors selected the Memphis center with the second overall pick in the draft.
“I know it’s going to be a long process for me, for my career, but I’m truly ready,” he said. “I’m just going in there to try to learn as much as possible and stay humble and work hard every day and just win.”
Wiseman averaged 34.2 points in three games as a freshman for the Tigers before a 12-game suspension by the NCAA because his family received money during the recruitment process. While serving the penalty, the 7-foot-1, 240-pound Wiseman decided to turn his attention to the draft.
News that Thompson injured his leg earlier Wednesday during a workout on his own in Southern California put a damper on Golden State’s draft.
The team announced the injury without providing further details on the severity or any timeline for his availability with training camp starting Dec. 1 and the season beginning Dec. 22.
This could be a severe blow for the Warriors, who finished worst in the NBA this season. Thompson didn’t play during the coronavirus-shortened season as he worked back from surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee. He suffered that injury as the Warriors lost the deciding Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors.
Golden State finished 15-50 for the NBA’s worst record this season with Thompson out and Curry nursing a broken left hand that sidelined him for more than four months. Two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant departed in free agency to join the Brooklyn Nets.
The 19-year-old Wiseman would be thrilled to make an immediate impact and be in the Rookie of the Year race. He isn’t getting ahead of himself — hoping to demonstrate a versatile game and ability to do things on both ends of the court with his length and wingspan.
“It’s a great position for me, great fit for me,” Wiseman said. “I’m just ready to go in there and play my role.”