Detroit Pistons: James Wiseman dominated in one area that matters

James Wiseman #13 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
James Wiseman #13 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

James Wiseman is ready to show what made him the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Going into his first full season with the Detroit Pistons, the fourth year big man was at the top of Troy Weaver’s big board that year due to his tremendous upside.

It’s time Wiseman’s potential manifests into productivity. Focusing on what he does at a high level now will earn him minutes to expand his game moving forward. Wiseman doesn’t need a lot of touches to be effective, fewer post-ups, more cleaning up should be his calling card. Not to minimize his role, but to maximize his strengths and effectiveness on the floor.

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James Wiseman will give his guards not just a lob threat in pick and roll, but also confidence knowing he’s there to cash in anything that comes off the glass. Outscoring your opponent in second chance points is a staple to winning basketball and Wiseman excelled in this facet of the game, rivaling the NBA’s best big men for supremacy. As a big, second chance points often come in the form of putbacks, this is where Wiseman dominated for the Pistons.

Detroit Pistons: James Wiseman can be a dominant offensive rebounder

In the Motor City Wiseman ranked in the 90th percentile on putbacks, bolstering jaw-dropping numbers along the way. He scored 2.7 points per game in this critical category, which placed him tied for seventh in the association, a hair behind other notable bigs such as Steven Adams, Clint Capela, Mitchell Robinson, and Jonas Valanciunas. However his 1.42 points per possession are statically better than all the other centers ahead of him including Anthony Davis (who leads the putback category in ppg with 3.9), current MVP Joel Embied, and former Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. Package them both together and he’s easily one of the best bigs at turning missed shots into points.

Something that makes his putback numbers more impressive is his low possessions per game. He got the fewest of anyone in the top ten with only 1.9 touches, meaning he’s maximizing his opportunities when they arrive. As he grows and learns to be in better position on the floor these numbers should increase. This is scary for opposing coaching staffs, who will still be trying to find a way to deal with starting center Jalen Duren.

These two could form a dynamic tandem on the offensive glass, getting baskets while their primary defender is busy helping on guard penetration. Wiseman and Duren combined for 5.7 offensive rebounds per game, that’s more than Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Brook Lopez from the division rival Milwaukee Bucks. Not bad for two young players still finding their way in this league, especially since Wiseman’s 2.3 per game is slightly better than both individually.

The sky is the limit for Wiseman and this shows why Weaver had him so high on his draft board. Continuing to develop while honing in on what he does well now is the recipe for success. The Detroit Pistons aren’t looking to tank any longer, if he wants minutes and wants to impact winning working the window will be his way.

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