Warriors GM Bob Myers on LaMelo Ball: 'We Knew He Would Be a Really Good Player'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 19, 2021

PORTLAND, OREGON - DECEMBER 17: LaMelo Ball # 2 of the Charlotte Hornets dunks the ball past Norman Powell # 24 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center on December 17, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
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The Golden State Warriors might regret picking James Wiseman over LaMelo Ball in the 2020 draft, but they aren't surprised Ball has been successful in the NBA.

Warriors general manager Bob Myers discussed the thought process on The Ryen Russillo Podcast (h/t John Tan of Clutch Points):

"We targeted James [Wiseman], obviously we took him in front of LaMelo [Ball]. We debate everything...we're pretty debate-oriented. It's not just me in a room saying, 'This is what we're doing' and then I shut the door. We hashed out the whole thing as far as what we thought.
"We ended up ranking it the way we did. We watched LaMelo; he had a great workout when we saw him. We knew he would be a really good player, but we ended up putting James in front of him."

Wiseman, who was selected No. 2 overall in 2020, has yet to play in 2021-22 as he recovers from a knee injury. He appeared in 39 games as a rookie, averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds.

Ball, the third pick of the draft to the Charlotte Hornets, won the Rookie of the Year award last year and has been a star in his second season. Through 25 games in 2021-22, the guard is averaging 20.3 points, 8.1 assists and 7.6 rebounds.

That draft did feature a difficult evaluation process, and not only because the NCAA tournament was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wiseman played just three games at Memphis before withdrawing to prepare for the draft, while Ball skipped college and was limited to just 12 games in Australia's NBL before a foot injury ended his season.

Teams were forced to evaluate on skill set and projection with limited game tape for the top players in the class.

Golden State also likely made positional need a factor in the draft, with frontcourt play still a weakness for the team even with a 24-6 record so far this season.

The Warriors are pretty set in the backcourt with MVP candidate Stephen Curry running the offense and Klay Thompson set to return from his Achilles injury. Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins have also played well this season as perimeter scorers.

If Wiseman can return to full strength and reach expectations, Golden State won't be too upset about missing out on Ball.