Talk of James Wiseman potentially falling to Cavs shows they should avoid him in 2020 NBA Draft

Former Memphis Tigers big man James Wiseman waits on the floor during a timeout. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Former Memphis Tigers big man James Wiseman waits on the floor during a timeout. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers could go a number of ways in the 2020 NBA Draft.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are set to have the fifth overall selection in the upcoming draft, which will be conducted virtually on November 18.

Previously, while it was reported Cleveland could end up using their #5 pick as “bait” for a trade, and seemingly look to acquire an established player in a deal, most notably, I’d still expect Cleveland to end up selecting there. That sounds like just a smoke screen, frankly.

So who are some potential targets for the Cavs at their draft position? Wings such as Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, Florida State’s Devin Vassell and Deni Avdija of the I-BSL’s Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv come to mind.

While’s Chris Fedor did recently report how a source noted that the Cavaliers could go with a guard, that’d be seemingly from Georgia’s Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball of the NBL’s Illawarra Hawks falling in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Fedor then noted how Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton and Killian Hayes, realistically the top guards available at Cleveland’s pick, probably wouldn’t be considered as “definitive” better options than Darius Garland/Collin Sexton, and that unless Ball/Edwards drop, the Cavs will go with a “wing or big.”

So when it comes to bigs for Cleveland, it would appear that Cleveland could feasibly go with USC’s Onyeka Okongwu. And while I wouldn’t be on-board with it due to major defensive concerns, Dayton’s Obi Toppin is rumored to be viewed by some within the Cavs organization as a potential long-term replacement for Kevin Love.

Another big could possibly be in play for the Cavs it would seem, per a Monday report from Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman, too. And that would appear to be James Wiseman, who played briefly at Memphis.

Wiseman, who is reportedly among those in Cleveland’s overall top tier of prospects, with Ball and Edwards also in that realm, is a prospect that could be viewed as maybe falling to Cleveland, potentially. Wasserman also noted how Edwards could possibly drop past 2, seemingly, and Ball, if the Minnesota Timberwolves don’t trade #1, would likely be their selection.

Minny could look to trade down, it’d appear, though, and the Golden State Warriors don’t seem high on Edwards, per Wasserman.

Anyway, from the Cavs’ perspective, here was more from Wasserman’s rationale to as to why he could see Wiseman falling out of maybe the top 3 and/or why Okongwu could be moving up.

"“Wiseman started the season as a no. 1 overall candidate, while Okongwu was mostly off NBA rankings as a 6’9”, non-shooting center. But Bleacher Report has talked with multiple scouts who’ve moved Okongwu over Wiseman.We made the move in November. But what matters most are the teams picking No. 2-10.At this stage, Wiseman’s case is mostly built around measurements, considering he played just three games at Memphis and did most of his damage as a finisher and shot-blocker. But Okongwu averaged 16.2 points and 2.7 blocks for the season, wowing with athletic plays, 94th-percentile post scoring, touch (15-of-35 half-court jumpers, 72.0 percent free-throws), and defensive activity/versatility.”"

Wasserman would then go on to state how B/R previously reported that Wiseman could fall to “No. 5-9” before, for further context. And with Wiseman being in the Cavaliers top tier, if he’s on the board, clearly, they could very well select him if he were to fall.

That Wasserman report shows why the Cleveland Cavaliers should avoid drafting Wiseman, though.

Wiseman at 7-foot-1 and with a 7-foot-6 wingspan has the measurables to be a potential franchise 5. But as Wasserman hit on, him not having the reps Okongwu had in 2019-20 didn’t help, and I don’t foresee him as being a switchable defender when needed, as Okongwu is.

To me, that doesn’t help Wiseman’s case for the Cavs. Assuming Andre Drummond eventually opts into his $28.8 million player option, which is reportedly highly likely to happen, he’s Cleveland’s starting 5 for next season. Could the Cavaliers look to move Drummond by the 2021 trade deadline?

Sure, but either way, even if Drummond is not around following next season, having a 5 not capable of switching out, or hedging effectively enough when needed is far from ideal, and Wiseman doesn’t have the team defensive feel Okongwu has.

The expiring Tristan Thompson, who could reportedly have a chance of being back next season, is in the same realm as a team defender as Okongwu, too, and the Cavaliers would know what they’d be getting from him.

To his credit, Drummond is at least a very heady team defender as well, too, and to me, the question marks there are a significant weakness for Wiseman, who only appeared in three games at Memphis.

In relation to the offensive end, are we sure that Wiseman, who has flashed shooting potential but is definitely not a floor spacer, is really going to be a viable mid-range shooter, anyhow? That I’m very skeptical of, and for a player as talented as Wiseman is, him not nearly dominating inside as much as he was capable of doing in play before at Memphis is a red flag.

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Wiseman seemed to tend to go to pull-ups and mid-post fadeaways far too often before his very brief stint at Memphis, of which we can’t take much away from.

Now, if he were to be drafted by the Cavs if he were to fall to them, I can’t say he’d be doing that sort of thing, but the thought of that is particulary off-putting, honestly. That’d be taking opportunities away from Collin Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr., Kevin Love and/or others, and he’s not a big that passes well.

To me, though, with the 2020 NBA Draft still a ways out, we could still absolutely end up seeing Wiseman selected before the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Charlotte Hornets could be a believer at #3, for example.

Nonetheless, while Cleveland could end up going Wiseman if he’s on the board, given Wasserman’s report, that’s even more reason to pass if he’s there.

The Cavaliers would frankly, if he’s available, would be far better off going with Okongwu, who seemingly could still very well be on the board even for Cleveland.

But either way, I’d also rather the Cavaliers go with a wing such as Okoro, who may be the draft’s best overall defender, or potentially a 3-and-D prospect the likes of Vassell, both of which could, both in the short and long term in today’s perimeter-centric NBA, be far more impactful than Wiseman. Avdija, who could be a point forward-type contributor, is in the same realm, too, from my perspective, for the Cavs.

To reiterate, again, I still believe there’s a very good chance he isn’t there, anyway, but if James Wiseman is on the board for the Cavaliers, they should pass. They could still seemingly go with him anyway if he’s there, but this recent report from Wasserman further proves why should Cleveland should avoid Wiseman if he falls.

The Cavs would be much better off going with one of those aforementioned wings, all of which could help the Wine and Gold further progress in their rebuild, thanks in large part to seemingly far better basketball IQ than Wiseman.

Okongwu is far better in that regard, too, and perhaps he again could be available as well, anyhow. Albeit if he’s not, for instance, and Wiseman is, the Cavaliers selecting the latter in the 2020 NBA Draft would be an eye-rolling move given the nature of today’s league.

Next. 3 reasons the Cavs should avoid drafting Obi Toppin. dark

Don’t read into Wiseman putting up 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per outing in a three-game stint at Memphis, folks.