CLOSE

SportsPulse: Mackenzie Salmon contacted top NBA prospect Onyeka Okongwu ahead of this week̵

7;s draft. He broke his own game and did not avoid the high professional comparison.

USA TODAY

The predicted NBA lottery insisted he would be pleased wherever he heard his name in the upcoming project.

“Any team that chooses me,” former Memphis center James Wiseman said Monday, “I’ll be really grateful for that.”

Still, Wiseman couldn’t help but speak enthusiastically about the Golden State Warriors as this potential team. They have number 2 on Wednesday after finishing last season with the worst NBA record (15-50). But the Warriors, who are just two years away from winning three NBA titles in five finals, will also have healthy Stephen Curry, Clay Thompson and Draymond Green, after all three spent last year breastfeeding on various injuries.

“It would be great because they won a lot of championships. Being in that type of tradition and being in that type of environment would be great for me,” Wiseman said. “It would create an extra boost in terms of my maturity as a basketball player. Learning under Steph and Clay will be a great situation for me.”

ON THE TOP: Gerson Rosas has big goals for the No. 1 T’wolves

I BOUND: How the Warriors will quickly become a title contender again

GET READY: How teams and prospects prepare for the most unique project

Not surprisingly, Warriors and Charlotte Hornets (number 3) interviewed Wiseman and witnessed a training session. With both of the best choices, each team can choose Wiseman because of his flexibility in the center as a player after boarding and perimeter. Surprisingly, the Minnesota Timberwolves did not attend any of his training sessions, although he chose number one.

“I got a lot of recommendations from them,” Wiseman said. “But as for talking to them, I didn’t.”

The reason remained unexplained. It remains unclear whether this development was due to Timberwolves’ lack of interest in him or whether Wiseman refused to host a training session for them in the hope of dissuading them from choosing him.

But how would Wiseman react if Minnesota chose him after not watching any of his training sessions?

“I feel good with every team that chooses me. I’m really grateful for that,” Wiseman said. “Whatever team chooses me, I will go in there, learn as much as I can and set my queue and want to win. I will do my best, I will have fun and I will try to recover.”

Gerson Rosas, president of basketball operations in Minnesota, is open about trading or using number 1. But he says the flexibility of center Carl-Anthony Towns and guard D’Angelo Russell “gives us a lot of opportunities.” Instead of analyzing whether to focus on a winger (Anthony Edwards of Georgia), a guard (LaMelo Ball) or a center (Wiseman), Rosas said he would choose the best player available.

Automatic execution

Show thumbnails

Show captions

Last slide Next slide

“Carl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell have the opportunity to be the best version of themselves through all of this,” Rosas said Monday. “We are in a unique situation because we have these two people on our list. We do not want this choice to come in and be our savior. This is another part of the puzzle. A big part, an important part and an impact part. But we are realistic in terms of what this means in the short and long term. “

Last week, Warriors general manager Bob Myers said the team had a similar philosophy, saying: “There is no Tim Duncan in which a person has been senior and he will be great automatically and you will win now and win for the next 20 years. “

“I think you owe it to the organization to build on the future if there is no obvious winner,” Myers said. “And if the man who wins now helps you win four games of the regular season, what’s the point of that?”

However, the Warriors may narrow down to Wiseman because they lack a clear center that can coincide with other major front courts, including Anthony Davis of the Lakers, Nicola Jokic of Denver and Joel Embiid of Philadelphia.

“They talked about my contribution to the team, what I would bring and how I would influence the team with my abilities, and they talked about my character off the court,” Wiseman said in an interview with Warriors. “They asked me if I would like to go in there and work my tail out.”

Wiseman replied in the affirmative. He added, “since I was younger, my coaches always told me to dominate every situation.” During those discussions, Wiseman said neither the Warriors nor the Hornets asked him to retire from Memphis in the middle of a 12-game NCAA penalty after Tigers coach Penny Hardway paid Wiseman’s transportation costs when transferring high schools. Wiseman played only three games, but impressed talent scouts, averaging 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and three blocks per game.

“I wouldn’t change anything at all,” Wiseman said. “Life is about progression. Without experiencing adversity, how can you grow? I feel that going through this situation made me better as a person and a basketball player.”

How so?

“It made me more mature. It made me mentally stronger,” Wiseman said. “I’m mentally resilient now. But that created a chip on my shoulder, just to get better. Just to understand your life. It’s not always easy. There are always ups and downs in everything.”

This includes an unpredictable preparation process involving Minnesota, Golden State and Charlotte.

Follow NBA USA TODAY writer Mark Medina on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Automatic execution

Show thumbnails

Show captions

Last slide Next slide