(First posted on RealGM)
Wiseman logged just 69 minutes in his time at Memphis, so teams are mostly evaluating him based on his performance with Memphis East High School and Bluff City Legends in the Nike EYBL circuit.
At lower levels, the center, who measured at six-foot-11 without shoes at the Memphis Pro Day one year ago, had the freedom to space out to the three-point line regularly and showed the ambition to try developing into a face-up driver.
Wiseman didn’t show anything particularly special operating off the bounce, though. He doesn’t have a quick first step out of a standstill and couldn’t often power through contact against similar-sized players. He pivoted into a not-all-that-fluid spin move on the fly and tried to go between the legs on occasion but didn’t have that level of ball skills for advanced dribble moves by that point. He had a loose handle for the most part and wasn’t strong with the ball on the go – prone to getting it stripped of him in traffic.
His brief cup of the coffee in the NCAA signals that as he moves up through the levels, Wiseman is more likely to settle into a conventional finisher who could space out to three-point line on occasion.
The 19-year-old can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense, but it is unclear how explosive he can be diving down the lane in traffic. He has, however, flashed some impressive coordination catching the ball on the move and keeping it high while loading up to go up with force in a crowd.
When forced to act as a rim-level finisher, Wiseman hasn’t yet shown particularly noteworthy versatility to his finishing but did fine with his touch on non-dunk scores – converting 17 of his 19 shots at the rim.
He got a bunch of touches in the post and proved himself capable of overwhelming smaller competition with his sheer size, often able to set deep seals close to the basket and rarely crowded effectively, turning the ball over just three times total across his three appearances – a good mark considering his high 27.8% usage rate over his 23 minutes per game.
But Wiseman hasn’t yet developed the sort of skill needed for him to be expected to develop into a shot creator, for himself or others, against competition that can match up his size and physicality.
There were flashes of court vision throwing darts to the opposite corner over the crowd in high school but not as much in college, as he recorded a single assist during his time in the NCAA.
But the team that ends up drafting him in the top five will do so hoping he’ll develop into a difference maker who completely shuts down the rim on defense.
Albeit against lower level competition, Wiseman was very effective near the basket in college.
He was active not just coming off the weak-side on longer rotations and stepping up to the front of the basket as the last line of defense but also shadowing post-ups to intervene at the last second and showing glimpses of being able to play center fielder making preventive rotations that deny the opponent space towards driving all the away to the basket.
Though prone to biting on shot fakes, Wiseman averaged just 2.9 personal fouls per 40 minutes, while consistently looking to make plays on the ball. He averaged 5.2 blocks per 40 minutes over his three appearances and made an impact in the hidden areas of the game as well, by actively challenging shots via verticality and guarding with his arms up near the rim to discourage an opponent from even attempting to finish over him on occasion.
Perhaps more impressively, Wiseman often showed the combination of quickness and effort needed on multiple effort plays, able to cut off a drive and force a drop-off then turnaround to contest his man at the dunker spot effectively.
His work in pick-and-roll defense was more of a mixed bag.
Though those three games didn’t exactly offer a substantial video sample, we were able to see Wiseman stressed in pick-and-roll coverage and Memphis asking him to defend it in a couple of different ways.
Against South Carolina State, Wiseman was asked to go up to the foul line and drop back to prioritize protecting the paint. He was seen approaching the ball handler in a stance, which was an improvement over his more lackadaisical approach during the high school All-Start circuit.
Wiseman got beat foul line down by the ballhandler here and there but flashed a fast-twitch reaction recovering to block the dribble driver from behind on one instance. The hustle was impressive but in the NBA that driver tends to get to the rim before the shot blocker can get to him.
He was stretched a little more in the next two games; flipping between show-and-recover and hedging, under both strategies working to make himself a presence at the three-point line.
Wiseman proved capable of influencing the ballhandler and cutting off access to the other side of the floor with his hedges, though his quickness in recovering back to his man left something to be desired.
His work on show-and-recover seemed more effective. He hasn’t yet developed a knack for leveraging his length into shutting down passing lanes (one steal in 69 minutes) but showed to be well-coordinated sliding laterally to prevent the ball handler from turning the corner right away off the pick a fair amount and put in the effort to contest pull-up three-pointers.
Wiseman doesn’t figure to be an option to pick up smaller players on switches on the regular or check stretch big men in the pick-and-pop.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara