Those three are enough to headline most draft classes but the addition of Wiseman takes things to an entirely different level. Of all the listed players, he seems to receive the most mixed feelings from the general public. It’s actually pretty unusual considering that he’s arguably the most modernized big man prospect of the last five years. Wiseman is from a rare breed of powerful athletes with size, skill, and a game-changing presence on both ends of the floor. He possesses vision, elite rebounding and rim-protection instincts, and displays flashes of three-level scoring ability. Only able to play for three games at Memphis, Wiseman’s collegiate journey was unfortunately cut short due to NCAA sanctions. It would be difficult to call those showings anything other than purely dominant, even if the competition was less than phenomenal. Since then, he’s decided to forgo dealing with the appeals and court dealings in order to train and properly prepare himself for the upcoming draft.
The major knock on Wiseman has been his motor, as people are unsure if he’s willing to play hard on a nightly basis. That should be seen as a minor issue. Playing hard is an absolute necessity at the high school and collegiate levels, unless one possesses otherworldly gifts like Wiseman. Work ethic and ability to improve is far more important than overall motor in the NBA, which is why his drawbacks aren’t that negative. Wiseman also won’t have much of a choice in the NBA, as workhorses like Clint Capela and Montrezl Harrell will punish him for trying to coast.
Additionally, each draft has at least one big man in the top three of win shares: Mitchell Robinson (2018; second), Jarrett Allen (2017; first), Bam Adebayo (2017; second), Domantas Sabonis (2016; third), Karl Anthony-Towns (2015; first), Myles Turner (2015; second), Montrezl Harrell (2015; third), Nikola Jokic (2014; first), Clint Capela (2014; second), Dwight Powell (2014; third) and the list goes on. That statement isn’t meant to preach the value of big men but rather to show how much easier it is to impact the game for a big versus a guard. Could Wiseman enter the league, wreak havoc, and seamlessly add his name to that list? Certainly, but it’s far too early to place any guarantees on his future. Even though a betting man would likely consider Wiseman the safest choice of this quartet.
There’s an abundance of film, information, and statistical evidence to support each of these prospects as the top choice in the upcoming NBA draft but still no clear-cut runaway selection. Edwards is the only one of the group to play double-digit games this season, which probably makes him the most comfortable guard option due to sample size. Ball and Wiseman will really need to impress during the pre-draft workouts, interviews, and everything in between to justify being warranted as the number one pick. Furthermore, the way the lottery balls fall will ultimately play a major factor in which prospect goes first. For example, the Golden State Warriors simply have no reason to draft someone like Anthony when their obvious need is Wiseman. Preference plays a strong role in this process, both for drafting teams and the fans playing general manager at home. So, who should go first?