James Wiseman is already afraid of some good ole fashioned competition–or he might just not want to live in Minnesota for the next five years.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the former Memphis Tigers big man and expected top-3 pick in the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft does not want the Minnesota Timberwolves to select him with the No. 1 overall pick. The reason why? Wiseman doesn’t want to battle for minutes at center next to Wolves All-Star and former Kentucky Wildcat, Karl-Anthony Towns.
“Wiseman does not want to come to Minnesota because Karl Towns is there,” Windhorst said on The Scoop podcast with Darren Wolfson. “From what I understand, Wiseman doesn’t even want to do anything with the Wolves.”
James Wiseman has no interest in being drafted by the Timberwolves, per @WindhorstESPN
“Wiseman does not want to come to Minnesota because Karl Towns is there. Wiseman doesn’t even want to do anything with the Wolves.” pic.twitter.com/QwveC9zZZP
— Top Ball Coverage (@TopBallCoverage) November 1, 2020
From a Kentucky fan perspective, this is quite funny. Wiseman famously chose Penny Hardaway and Memphis over John Calipari and the ‘Cats back in Nov. 2018 as the top-overall prospect out of high school. However, the NCAA later denied him the chance to play his one-and-done season (for ridiculous reasons, I will admit), and Wiseman only appeared in three games for the Tigers before deciding that he would opt-out the rest of the year in order prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft.
Now, in what many anticipate to be a historically weak draft, Wiseman is avoiding the chance to play alongside a Wildcat once again. But despite the heavy dropoff at the top, he’s a consensus top-three prospect, joining Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball as the likely choices to kick off the draft. If Minnesota doesn’t take him, the Golden State Warriors (No. 2 pick) or Charlotte Hornets (No. 3) assuredly will.
To be fair to Wiseman, playing next to KAT wouldn’t make much sense for his personal development, plus it would be counterproductive from a Timberwolves’ front office standpoint. Minnesota already has its franchise big man in Towns plus a budding guard in D’Angelo Russell. They would be much better off taking someone like Edwards or Ball to develop as two-way players who can operate through Towns.