NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Monday, December 23, 2019

Mock Draft Monday: Is it risky for James Wiseman to pull out of school?

                                          (Credit: AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht) 

Rather than accepting his suspension and returning to the Memphis Tigers in mid-January, James Wiseman has made the decision to withdraw from school and formally declare for the 2020 NBA draft. In my previous post on Wiseman (which you can read here), I wrote that Wiseman's NBA draft stock shouldn't be affected by his suspension. However, I was still assuming that he would return to school and give NBA scouts a chance to see what he can do.

By withdrawing from school, Wiseman is banking on his physical profile and overall potential doing the work for him to get picked in the top two of the 2020 NBA draft. The thought process is that playing in college only bears the risk of injury and that there's no upside in staying. Is that really true?

The answer is complicated. If you are certain to go #1 or #2 in the upcoming NBA draft, it's hard to argue against pulling out of school, training on your own, and avoiding the risk of injury. However, the key lies in being certain that you'll go #1 or #2. If your draft stock is more fluid, then it becomes trickier.

In the case of Wiseman, he appears to be right on the border. has him projected to go #2 at the moment, but he could slide down to #3 behind LaMelo Ball or even out of the top five if a couple guys in college (e.g. Dayton's Obi Toppin) really ball out. By sitting out this season, Wiseman is denying himself a chance to showcase himself against those guys and that could come back to haunt him on draft day.

The other issue of course is what teams will think of him for pulling out. Does it show a lack of competitive fire? Are they certain he'll play hard for them if he gets bruised up a bit in his rookie year? Will he instead want to sit out and avoid ruining his chance at a more lucrative contract down the road? Some teams may think that, which once again could hurt him.

To quickly sum this all up, is it risky for James Wiseman to pull out of school? The answer is yes, but if he feels confident enough in his skill set to get picked #1 or #2 in the 2020 NBA draft, it's worth it. Why risk getting injured and seeing your draft stock fall from #2 to #10? Worst case, Wiseman falls to #5 or #6, but that's like a doomsday scenario. In all likelihood, he's going at least #4. On top of that, he was already facing a suspension and would only be able to play for like 6 weeks. Wiseman is making the right move. I just hope he's making it while also calculating the risks that come with it.

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