SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF / CBS Sports / AP) — The Golden State Warriors drafted center James Wiseman from the University of Memphis with the second pick in the NBA Draft Wednesday night, as Golden State faced new questions about the upcoming season after all-star Klay Thompson suffered a leg injury.
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Wiseman has been among the highest-ranked players in this class since high school, but had to overcome a tumultuous collegiate season at Memphis in order to earn such a high selection. Wiseman was suspended by the NCAA for accepting improper benefits, including $11,500 in moving expenses from Memphis coach Penny Hardaway, but chose to enter the NBA Draft immediately rather than serve the suspension and return.
While serving the penalty, the 7-foot-1, 240-pound Wiseman decided to turn his attention to the draft.
“Just going through this adversity made me stronger as a person,” Wiseman told ESPN shortly after the pick. “I’m truly ready just to go to Golden State and go and learn as much as possible.”
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News that guard Klay 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.
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.
Wiseman and Hall of Famer Rick Barry, in 1965, are the only No. 2 draft picks in franchise history. Wiseman is the Warriors’ highest selection since Joe Smith was taken No. 1 in 1995.
The 19-year-old Wiseman, who will wear jersey No. 33, 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.”
Golden State selected Arizona guard Nico Mannion, from Siena, Italy, with its second-round pick at 48th and Boise State forward Justinian Jessup at No. 51.MORE NEWS: Crash on Highway 85 in Saratoga Temporarily Blocks Southbound Lanes
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