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NBA Rumors: Some Execs Rank James Wiseman Outside Top 10 Draft Prospects

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 16, 2020

Memphis' James Wiseman (32) pauses between plays in an NCAA college basketball game against University of Illinois-Chicago Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)
Karen Pulfer Focht/Associated Press

James Wiseman is regarded as one of the top prospects in the 2020 NBA draft, but there appears to be some division about where the former Memphis center stacks up in this class. 

Per The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor, some NBA executives have ranked Wiseman outside of the top 10 players. 

O'Connor did note there are some league executives who have Wiseman ranked as the best player in this class, so the range of opinions on his game translating to the NBA appears to be stark. 

One potential reason for the uncertainty about Wiseman is his limited college experience. The Tennessee native only played three games for the Tigers due to eligibility concerns stemming from head coach Anfernee Hardaway paying $11,500 in moving expenses for Wiseman's family to move to Memphis in 2017. 

The NCAA suspended Wiseman for 12 games and ordered him to donate $11,500 to charity. He would have been eligible to return Jan. 12, but he decided to withdraw from school in December to prepare for the NBA draft. 

Another issue, as noted by B/R's Jonathan Wasserman, is that Wiseman's game doesn't translate well to the current style of play in the NBA:

"With a top-five pick in today's NBA, I'd have a tough time taking a center who doesn't shoot, pass or defend much away from the basket. Later in the lottery, it's fine to go after a rim-runner and shot-blocker with Wiseman's special physical gifts. 

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"He'll continue racking up easy baskets off dump-downs, offensive rebounds and lobs. And his strength, length and hops around the basket should work in rim protection."

Wasserman has Wiseman as the No. 10 prospect on his current big board. He put up impressive numbers in a limited sample size at Memphis with 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game.

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