Many things are uncertain about where the Warriors franchise is going. Don Nelson will eventually have his record and he will no longer be the coach of the Golden State Warriors. Will the Warriors still have the same run and gun approach without Nelson or will the team attempt go go for a more conventional approach? The Warriors have many talented players who have either failed to live up to their potential thus far or have been plagued with injuries. The Warriors are in a position this year to get a very high draft pick, despite the fact there is a lot of existing talent on their team. With such a high draft pick do the Warriors draft based on talent alone or do they draft based on need?
Lets take a quick look at the current roster (If Healthy)
C: Biedrins/Turiaf: Biedrins can rebound and score efficiently with limited offensive capabilities, he is at best an average defender, this is amplified when he is the only big on the court as he is much of the time under Nelson's offensive schemes. Turiaf is another efficient yet limited offensive player, Turiaf may be a slightly better defender than Biedrins but Turiaf is not nearly as good as Biedrins at rebounding.
PF: Randolph/Wright: Randolph is loaded with talent, but he is a fairly inefficient scorer. Randolph is a good rebounder and shot blocker, but he is too small and lacks fundamentals on defense to be anything better than a poor defender. Although it has been reported that Wright has gained weight he has missed this entire season. Wright has shown himself with limited playing time to be a more efficient scorer than Randolph although he is a worse rebounder, and suffers from the same problems that Randolph does defensively.
SF: Maggette/Azuibuke: Maggette is as efficient a scorer as they come, but he forces the offense to slow down, and dominates the ball. Maggette draws a lot of fouls which helps the team in more ways than one. Maggette is nothing spectacular on defense is injury prone. Azuibuke is also an efficient scorer, and good 3pt shooter that can run with the rest of the team. Azuibuke is not the greatest defender for a small forward but has shown signs of improvement.
SG: Ellis/Morrow: Ellis has been a prolific but slightly inefficient scorer who is turnover prone. Ellis can do a lot better at shot selection and improve his efficiency dramatically(as he has done in the past), he also should not run the point as much considering Curry is more effective in that category. Ellis is an intense defender who is a master at ball theft, he seems to have transformed into a good defender against smaller guards. Morrow is one of the best shooters in the league and scores at a wonderfully efficient rate. Morrow is not the best defender by any stretch but he always puts in his best effort, and seems to make the right choices.
PG: Curry/Watson: Curry is a great shooter with some slashing ability, and the ability to create shots for others. Curry is still turnover prone, and isn't known as a good defender quite yet despite his good ability to create turnovers through steals. A developing team couldn't ask for a better young point guard to build a team around. Watson is an efficient scorer and is strong for a point guard. Like Ellis and Curry Watson is excellent at forcing turnovers through steals. Defensively Watson is a good defender against smaller guards.
So if we look at this team it looks like we could use 1. A good post defender 2. A good post scorer 3. A good defensive swing-man 4. Someone off the bench that can rebound. 5. More size at SG/SF 6. A backup point guard that can create shots for others, and keep the ball moving on offense. 7. Simply having playing two bigs at the same time when needed.
Maggette(Due to his long contract and his playing style not exactly meshing with the rest of the team.)
Ellis: For the right price (A post defender or scorer) Ellis would be a good center piece Ellis is talented and he could play with Curry really at this point it is just a matter of will he(not because I believe Curry and Ellis don't like each other but because one of them is now expendable and Curry has more upside at this point I actually like Ellis.)
Biedrins: Randolph/Wright's potential are too high and have yet to be seen. Biedrins is a limited player on a team which needs a more versatile center. Note: Biedrins should not be traded if their is not a new starting center or PF already in place. I also believe Biedrins is a valuable player and he is the only excellent rebounder on the team.
Turiaf: A useful player and that is why other teams might like him to be included in a trade.
Watson: A good player who would fit in with many teams, but the warriors don't exactly need another scoring small guard. Of course I wouldn't mind keeping Watson though.
Azuibuke: Coming off a major injury will Azuibuke be the same? It might be best to trade him while he still has a good deal of value. Don't get me wrong I like Azuibuke but I speak through a purely logical and analytical perspective.
Top Draft Choices:
John Wall PG: Wall is only 19 and even at this point he is considered to have the slashing ability of Derrick Rose and better passing. Wall is also considered a to be a great defender at the college level racking up almost 2 steals per game and being a lock down perimeter defender. Wall turns the ball over too much, isn't a great 3pt shooter yet. Since Wall is 19 years old his decision making is suspect. Wall has potential to be a great NBA player and will certainly be in the running for ROTY right away. In someways however Wall actually has a lot to learn, and won't immediately be a top 10 player in the league.
How does John Wall fit on the Warriors?: The Warriors currently have three scoring undersized guards all with some passing ability. If the warriors wanted to start Curry, Ellis and Wall they would have to have Wall at SF, which is completely idiotic. Ellis or Curry would have to be traded to make room for Wall. If the Warriors do get the No. 1 pick they will have to decide to either draft Wall and trade Ellis or Curry or draft someone else and risk being ruthlessly mocked for not drafting someone who could be a future hall of fame player.
Evan Turner SG/SF: Turner is an excellent all round player who is probably the most NBA ready player in the draft. Turner can score, pass, rebound and defend. Turner is said to have a tremendous work ethic. Turner will have to use his tremendous work ethic to cut down his turnovers when he reaches the NBA, which has been his one weakness. Turner is an efficient scorer who is primarily a slasher and has shown an ability to draw fouls.
How does Evan Turner fit into the Warriors?: Plug Turner into the SF position and he is pretty much the exact player that the Warriors are looking for at that position. It seems as though Turners all round game would fit in well with the Warriors current offense. Turner's work ethic on the defensive end couldn't hurt the Warriors either.
DeMarcus Cousins C: Cousins is the premiere post prospect in the draft. Cousins is a Huge highly skilled post scorer, who is currently destroying smaller opponents in college. Cousins maturity, and attitude has been put into question but he is only 19 years old. Cousins tends to not want to pass the ball when he gets it, and sometimes takes bad shots(again he is only 19.) Cousins has the ability to be a lock down defender down low. Cousins main weakness is his inability to get back on defense quickly enough. I would also add a concern that if he adds on too much weight (he is 19 and 270lbs) he might become too slow for the current NBA game.
How does DeMarcus Cousins fit into the Warriors?: He could be the elite low post scorer/defender the warriors need, however the warriors would have to change their game plan to fit Cousins play style. Cousins at this point is a half court player, and he probably will remain that way for his career.
Derrick Favors PF/C: At 18 years old Favors is one of the most raw and intriguing talents in the draft. Favors is currently on a team without a true passer so Favors has been forced to experiment with creating his own shots. Favors draws a lot of fouls but shoots Fts at only 60% thus far in his career. It will be interesting to see what Favors could do on a team with a suitable point guard. His shooting percentage is 59% in college with a TS% of 61% Favors has tons of energy and can run the floor exceptionally well. At 6'10” 245 pounds Favors has the size and athleticism to be an elite Center on a fast paced offensive team. He has been developing his post game as of late and although he will probably not immediately be an effective post player in the NBA the potential is there. Favors seems to rebound reasonably well, and block shots excellently.
How Does Derrick Favors fit into the Warriors?: He could help the Warriors in every way. This is except for the fact that Favors is yet another project player, he probably won't put up great numbers for a few more years. Favors however has all the ability in the world but at the age of 18 and it is extremely hard to project where he will end up. Although Favors could end up being an extremely smart draft choice down the road I sense I feeling among Warrior fans and probably by extension the front office, that the Warriors need to improve dramatically soon and using a top five draft pick on a project player would be seen as a mistake. With that being said it is extremely tempting to see what Favors could do with a good passing guard like Curry on a team with a fast paced offense.
Al-Farouq Aminu SF/PF: Another raw 19 year old prospect with an ever improving skill set. Aminu offensively is not that efficient. Aminu can drive to the basket and get to the rim but his handling is poor and Aminu is not a great finisher, and creates too many turnovers as a result. Aminu however is very active defensively and has shown a knack for grabbing rebounds.
How does Al-Farouq Aminu fit into the Warriors?: Another raw talent that fits the prototype PF for a guy in Nellies system. The fact that he is a quick undersized PF that still somehow grabs rebounds(especially offensive rebounds) and can run the floor as well as a guard. Aminu is yet another project player but unlike Cousins, and Wall will probably have a limited impact upon arrival. Aminu's talent is hard to overlook however.
Cole Aldrich C: Aldrich is and will not be an offensive Center immediately in the NBA. Aldrich does well around the basket when shots are created for him. Aldrich's defense and rebounding is what set him apart. Aldrich is already a good low post defender with a strong lower body and tremendous shot blocking ability. Aldrich can also rebound fairly well. Aldrich's only weakness defensively is his lack of lateral quickness.
How does Cole Aldrich fit into the Warriors?: Aldrich is really just a role playing center unlike many of the other prospects on this list Aldrich is also much more of a sure thing. Anyone who drafts Aldrich knows exactly what they are getting. The Warriors need someone like Aldrich on the team but the Warriors shouldn't draft him unless they slip past the fifth or sixth pick in the draft and he is still available. Aldrich is destined to be an underrated piece of a good team in the future. Also just by looking at him I know he will be seen as an Adonal Foyle type, the butt of inside jokes for whatever team he is on.
Donatas Montejunas C: The number one international prospect in the draft Montejunas is another 19 year old with a ton of potential. Montejunas is a seven footer who can shoot from the perimeter beat opponents off the dribble and even does well in the post in Europe. Some say that Montejunas's ability to create his own shot and extreme quickness for a center will play better in the NBA than in Europe. With all of Montejunas's offensive upside he has incredible detriments that he must improve on. Montejunas is simply not bulky enough to defend effectively at the NBA level. Montejunas has also shown that he is not very good at grabbing defensive rebounds despite his height.
How does Donatas Montejunas fit into the Warriors?: Montejunas is a dynamic scorer that can run the court very well this aspect of his game fits with the Warriors. What the Warriors definitely don't need is another weak defender in the post. Also Montejunas would completely destroy the Warriors chances of competing on rebounds. Montejunas is a project prospect that could compensate for his weaknesses as he gets older but the Warriors can't invest in that kind of risk with such a high draft pick. I find it interesting that most of the raw PF/C prospects on this list are raw offensively but already have some good rebounding/defense capabilities where as Montejunas is the opposite.
Wesley Johnson SF: Johnson has been a stand out on a great Syracuse team. Johnson is an unselfish player who at 22 is less of a risk than many of the previously mentioned picks. Johnson is a good jump shooter with good fundamentals, he is a good finisher and a solid defender. Johnson is not a good shot creator and does not get to the line as often as some think he should. Johnson has an ever improving shot from beyond the 3pt arc, and is developing a post game.
How does Wesley Johnson fit into the Warriors?: Really any team could use a versatile player like Johnson the problem is Johnson is not really excellent at any one thing, and is probably destine to be a quietly effective role player or starter. Johnson is a safe pick but he is hardly the kind of player you want to draft extremely high in the draft.
Hassan Whiteside C: Whiteside is yet another offensively raw center prospect. Whiteside lacks finesse underneath the basket. Whiteside does have a hook shot and scores somewhat efficiently even though he is limited. Whiteside really excels defensively, using his wingspan to block shots. Hassan is a good rebounder as well. Whiteside's upper body is not yet strong enough but could develop.
How does Hassan Whiteside fit into the Warriors?: Whiteside is a big sleeper in the draft, although he is raw he seems to have more ability defensively than many of the other raw talents. Although his defense is not as good as Cole Aldrich his ability to run the floor and play adequate defense could help the Warriors in particular compared to Aldrich. Hassan would be among my first choices if the Warriors drop out of the top 3 or 4 picks, as it would allow the Warriors to trade Biedrins without losing much. Hassan Whiteside is an extremely interesting sleeper in this draft.
James Anderson SG: Anderson is a prolific and efficient scorer at the college level. He is also one of the only guards in this draft class. In a class filled with unrefined PF/Cs with raw potential, Anderson stands out as a safe role playing guard with the ability to create his own shot and hit jumpers. Anderson is an under control player who rarely turns the ball over, and he has the ability to get to the free throw line better than any other guard in college at this point. Anderson's weakness is on the defensive end, he regularly gets beaten off the dribble in college and many believe that this problem will only get worse in the NBA.
How does Anderson fit into the Warriors?: Having a tall shooting guard would be good except for the fact that by all accounts even the small guards on the Warriors play better defense than Anderson. If Anderson could play better defense he would be a welcome addition to the Warriors bench but since he can't play defense there is no chance the Warriors should consider Anderson. The only reason why I included him in this list is that I was tired of Centers and Power Forwards. Really I should have included Ed Davis who is a perfectly good young PF prospect with a lot of maturity for his age(20) but there are so many 18-20 year old PF/C prospects I couldn't bare to write one more write up about another prospect that has an undeveloped offensive game and is good at jumping blocking shots and rebounding.
This years draft class is pretty interesting. Last year there were a lot of PG prospects with one PF/C as a standout. This year it is the complete opposite. We can only hope that this year's draft will bring about as many surprises as last year's draft.
Overall the Warriors have a lot of choices coming into this years draft and although the draft cannot solve all the problems the team has and catapult them into contender status magically it can theoretically fill a hole. It is my opinion that the Warriors goal for next year should be a record of 35-40 wins and creating a foundation for future years to come, anything else would be icing on the cake. Another season like this one would be dreadful for the franchise.