The Warriors pursued Dwight Howard in 2013 before he eventually signed with the Houston Rockets.
Seven years later, the Warriors might have drafted a more athletic version of Howard with the No. 2 overall pick.
On the latest edition of the “Dubs Talk” podcast, NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Dorell Wright said he sees a little bit of Howard in James Wiseman.
“I was able to see him playing early on in Memphis, and I’ve been able to follow him the last three months and seeing how he’s changing his body, how much stronger he is, how much faster he’s gotten,” Wright told host Grant Liffmann. “So just those skills that I’ve seen in those three games, it’s a scary scary sight where he is now. Mature body, more NBA reps under his belt, so I’m really looking forward to seeing him out there.
“He reminds me of Dwight Howard. When we came out in ’04, athletic guy who can run the floor hard, touch the top of the backboard if he wants to, but a little more skill with the ball in his hand and in the post. So I’m really looking forward to watching him.”
Howard was the No. 1 overall pick in 2004 by the Orlando Magic, and while he’s had a star-crossed NBA career, the soon-to-be 35-year-old has put together a strong resume in 16 seasons. He’s an eight-time NBA All-Star, an eight-time All-NBA selection, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, and now he’s an NBA champ.
The Warriors would be pleased if Wiseman achieved what Howard, who signed with the Philadelphia 76ers two weeks ago, has done since entering the NBA.
As for what to expect from Wiseman during his rookie season, Wright wants to see him focus on one side of the ball.
“I think his thing is coming in not even thinking about offense,” Wright told Liffmann. “He should be thinking ‘I’m the anchor of this defense. Only way this team wins is if I block shots, if I rebound at a high level, I’m communicating,’ because Draymond did it for so many years and come on, Draymond is what 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8? You’re talking about a 7-foot-1 kid, 18, 19 years old. He should have more energy than everybody.
“So I feel like if he commits to the defensive side, being there when guys get beat, being there on different pick-and-roll coverages and being able to guard multiple positions when he’s out there, he’s going to be in great hands. Because the offensive side of things is going to work out perfect because they move the ball so well. Ducking in, running the floor hard in transition, making a little 15-foot jumper. If he can buy into that, I think he’s in good hands.”
If Wright is right, and Wiseman turns into the next Howard, the Warriors will be very happy with how the draft pick turned out.