There are so many different options for the Golden State Warriors in tonight’s NBA Draft, let’s skip the clever (snarky) intro and skip to what they could do this evening.
1. Trade up
Why do this? If they really want to acquire Thomas Robinson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Bradley Beal, moving up in the NBA Draft is probably the only way. However, they’d probably have to part with Klay Thompson to do it.
Chances of this happening: almost nil.
2. Trade down
Why do this? As they speak to other teams, the Warriors are realizing something their fans have known for quite some time — they don’t really have a lot of assets (which explains what I wrote above for option No. 1). Since there’s no guarantee that the player chosen at No. 7 will be any better than the guy who goes at No. 14, why not see if you can either acquire two mid-level first rounders this year (Houston, hello!) or grab a first round pick in the 2013 Draft, when the Warriors’ original first round pick will probably go to the Utah Jazz?
Chances of this happening: better than trading up, but in a deep draft like this one it’s questionable as to whether other teams will covet the No. 7 pick, either. If the Warriors do indeed trade down, it’ll be when they’re are on the clock and another team pounces because someone they love is still on the board.
3. Trade for a veteran
Why do this? Adding a couple rookies to their current nucleus won’t get them to the “promised” land next season unless several other things fall into place (Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut both play 70+ games, Thompson becomes a top-10 SG if not better, Jeremy Tyler becomes serviceable, Andris Biedrins stops hating his job). If the Warriors remain a decidedly young team, there will be some exciting basketball — and the Warriors will continue to lose close games.
Chances of this happening: probably about the same as the chances of the Warriors trading down. They aren’t getting a guy like Rudy Gay or Andre Iguodala for a package including the 7th pick. Would they be willing to take the PR hit that would follow a trade for Wilson Chandler (a good player, but not the Draft Day prize most casual fans would be happy with)? Then again, they traded their most popular player for an injured Australian center, so crazier things…
4. Stand pat (draft someone at No. 7 and keep him)
Why do this? It would be pretty easy. All they’d have to do is take the highest guy remaining on their board.
Chances of this happening: very, very good. Now that Jared Sullinger’s back issues have rendered him a non-option, anyone the Warriors would take at this spot would at least seem intriguing to the fans (translation: possess the ability to run the floor and throw down some aesthetically pleasing dunks).
So with that said, onto the second and last version of my extra short Mock Draft, followed by what I think the Warriors may do if they don’t keep their pick.
1. New Orleans Hornets — Anthony Davis, SF/PF, Kentucky
He’s trademarking his unibrow, which probably makes Carlos Boozer kick himself for not trademarking his chest hair back when people cared about him.
2. Charlotte Bobcats — Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
And he was never heard from again…
3. Washington Wizards — Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
Trading for Trevor Ariza makes this a pretty obvious move (which means it probably won’t happen). However, I can’t be the only one who thinks a starting five including John Wall, Beal, Ariza, Nene and Emeka Okafor sounds extraordinarily average.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers — Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
The Cavs liked him last year, and he jumped 38 inches off the ground from a standstill at the combine.
5. Sacramento Kings — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
He can’t keep falling, he’s just too RELENTLESS. (Don’t you love how everyone judges these guys from a personality standpoint with such certainty? I’m sure MKG is a tough player, but how the hell do people who’ve watched six UK games know that the guy is some kind of street brawler?)
6. Portland Trailblazers — Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
Call this a reaction to watching Ray Felton up close for an entire season.
That’s right, the Warriors are going with the “My Three (NBA) Sons” philosophy. The fact that the Warriors seem to be relying pretty highly on pedigree these days (Curry, Thompson) is only one reason why I see them reaching for Rivers at this spot.
– They’re almost surely keeping Brandon Rush, so the need for a pure SF isn’t quite as strong. Rush quietly had an outstanding season, to the point where the Warriors kept him off the floor as much as possible near the end because his presence was helping the team win too much.
– If Curry leaves in free agency (which almost seems likely unless the Warriors turn things around in a big way this season), the Warriors aren’t stuck with Charles Jenkins as his only replacement.
– Rivers is big enough to play at little at the 2 with Thompson at the 3. The Warriors have a legitimate 7-footer now, so even in doing that they wouldn’t exactly be going small.
– Everyone decided this week that the Warriors would take Dion Waiters, so there’s no way I’m predicting that now.
– Andre Drummond made 29% of his free throws during his freshman season at UConn. While he could very well be a cheaper version of DeAndre Jordan with more blocked shots, Drummond’s struggles at the line bring to mind a certain Latvian has-been.
This deal could take place with a variety of teams. It’s also something that I’ll admit came to mind because I’m overly influenced by my watching several hours of UW Huskies basketball over the past few years (which is why I wanted the Warriors to draft Isiah Thomas last season in the second round).
I think the Warriors could very well trade down for Terrence Ross and a first round pick in 2013.
The only thing Ross doesn’t possess is an above-average wingspan (he stands 6′ 6″ without shoes, and his wingspan is 6′ 7.25″). He can shoot (51.8% 2Pt, 37.1% 3pt) and defend, but there are two particular reasons why I think the Warriors would covet this guy (besides the Warriors seeing a lot of Ross while scouting Thompson a year ago, and Chad Ford mentioning how Jerry West likes Ross in his Mock Draft No. 9.323435 or whatever).
1. I absolutely love his offensive game. He can get to the basket and always looks in control; that’s what jumped out to me when I watched him during his freshman year.
2. He can rebound. The Warriors were one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA last season, and Ross averaged 6.4 rpg in 31.1 minutes last year.
I guess one could make a similar case for the Warriors trading down for another Terrence (Jones) or another Jones (Perry III). It wouldn’t surprise me if the Warriors traded down for a number of players they thought were just as good as whoever they’d get at No. 7.
This whole predicting game is tough, because how do you forecast what the Warriors will do when so much change has occurred? You can make fun of the franchise and call out what would be a “typical Warriors move,” but what does that mean when the team has new owners, a new general manager, and so many
competing collaborating voices in the boardroom? Plus with other teams sure to make moves we aren’t expecting, the Warriors’ own best-laid plans might hit the incinerator by 4:45 pm PDT.
I’ll be at the Warriors’ draft party tonight, so stay tuned for more analysis once find out what the Warriors decide. Should be interesting.