James Wiseman

Lacob sees ‘a lot' of similarities between Lance, Wiseman situations

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The Bay Area has not had much luck with top draft selections in recent years.

First, the Giants selected catcher Joey Bart with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. Then, the Warriors selected center James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Finally, the 49ers traded up to select quarterback Trey Lance with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Not only have all three former top picks not worked out for their respective teams, but also two of them -- Lance and Wiseman -- were traded away before having a chance to play a full season at the professional level.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob joined The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on the latest episode of "The TK Show" podcast, where he discussed the similarities between Wiseman's tenure with the Warriors and Lance's with the 49ers after the young quarterback was traded to the Dallas Cowboys on Aug 25.

"We can't sit here and deny it; it has some similarities," Lacob told Kawakami. "No question. Both were traded in Year 3 right? Both were the second pick in the draft, the third pick in the draft. Both sustained injuries at very bad times in their development and missed kind of a whole year or close to it. It's very unfortunate.

"For whatever reason, circumstances do dictate success in a career sometimes, it's not always about the talent. It's the circumstances of the team you're with and the timing of that team, who the other players are on that team, salary structures. There's all kinds of things that enter it. But yeah, there's a lot of similarities, I couldn't help but notice."

Wiseman was 19 years old when the Warriors drafted him, while Lance was 20 when selected by San Francisco two-plus years ago. Wiseman's talent was undeniable, but he struggled to stay healthy and therefore struggled to develop in the NBA on a championship-caliber team, which resulted in a midseason trade to the Detroit Pistons during the 2022-23 season.

Lacob believes both players were victims of circumstance rather than their team's championship aspirations preventing them from developing at the professional level.

"I think that's too simple. I think there's some truth to that, that's a fair statement," Lacob explained. "I think it's more complicated than that. Like I said, a set of circumstances, very specific, unfortunately in both cases, these guys had major injuries or COVID or something like that.

"There's just a lot of similarities, and unfortunately with sports these days, we don't always have the long lead time and pathway to wait for every player to develop. Maybe these guys go somewhere else and become great somewhere else, it's possible."

The 49ers were fortunate enough to select current starting quarterback Brock Purdy in the seventh round of the 2022 draft, while Warriors center Kevon Looney has emerged as one of the most reliable, consistent big men in the league today in lieu of the Wiseman pick.

However, it's safe to say both selections could haunt the Warriors and 49ers for years to come.

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