clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

James Wiseman shines in preseason opener vs. Wizards

Is the breakout finally coming? We break down the Warriors C’s performance and what it means for betting and fantasy basketball.

James Wiseman #33 of the Golden State Warriors looks on against the Washington Wizards as part of the 2022 NBA Japan Games on September 30, 2022 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s been a long road to this point for Golden State Warriors C James Wiseman. After being the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Wiseman has only played 39 games over the first two seasons in his NBA career. That is mostly due to the Warriors status in the League and injuries that have plagued the young big. Finally, it seems like Wiseman is ready to contribute and we’re going to break down what it means for multiple markets.

Fantasy basketball impact

It could just be my old eyes but Wiseman isn’t showing up on any fantasy basketball rankings heading into draft season in a week or two. This could be because Wiseman was expected to start behind Kevon Looney on the depth chart and the Dubs still have Draymond Green and fellow first-round choice Jonathan Kuminga. It’s a crowded front court and the Warriors haven’t been known for producing big-time fantasy players from those positions (other than Green).

Wiseman had a very impressive preseason debut on Friday morning in Japan, scoring 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting with nine rebounds in 24 minutes. It’s just preseason and the Washington Wizards aren’t exactly top competition, but it’s still very encouraging for Wiseman heading into the season. Expectations will start to build and if Wiseman can stay healthy, within the Dubs offense the sky is the limit. Wiseman should become a trendy sleeper pick in fantasy basketball and makes for a good keeper option as well.

Betting markets

Wiseman has a ton of good narrative that could help him win Most Improved Player. Right now on DraftKings Sportsbook, Wiseman sits at +3500 to win MIP. The top of the board has Anthony Edwards (+1000), Tyrese Haliburton (+1200) and Jalen Brunson (+1600). That’s a tough crowd to compete with, especially when considering the trends for MIP in the past. More times than not, the player who wins the award goes from not an All-Star to being an All-Star. Edwards, Haliburton and Brunson all have pretty good situations to pull that off. Wiseman, not so much.

Still, Wiseman could end up starting and contributing for the defending champion Warriors, which could go a long way with voters. Wiseman also has a much bigger gap between productions and seasons than the other players. Edwards being an All-Star wouldn’t shock anyone. Haliburton and Brunson are likely going to be on worse teams and get more minutes and usage. Even players like Cade Cunningham (+2000) and Zion Williamson (+1600) should benefit from this narrative.

The thing that could help Wiseman is being sort of a missing link in unlocking the Warriors complete potential. That’s hard to fathom given they just won another title. The team broke the single-season wins record. Would Wiseman elevating his game to another level and helping the Dubs take first place in the NBA with a ton of wins be enough to win MIP? Perhaps. It’s a long shot but even Wiseman could be an All-Star. Andrew Wiggins somehow got on a team last year. The Dubs clearly get more benefit in that respect.

So while other players on other teams will be putting up better numbers, Wiseman could be helping Golden State win more games. This should go a longer way in considering who should win Most Improved Player.