2012 NBA Draft: Ranking The Players Who Worked Out For The Golden State Warriors

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Andre Drummond #12 of the Connecticut Huskies dunks the ball against the Syracuse Orange during the quarterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

In the lead up to the 2012 NBA Draft, GM Bob Myers has said that the Golden State Warriors won't necessarily exclude players who haven't worked out for them

But with so many question marks surrounding even prospects expected to go be selected at the top of the draft this year, it might be fair to assume that the players who did workout with the team have a bit of an edge.

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As we prepare for the Warriors to make not only that first pick that we've discussed so much but also their second pick (#30) and their second round picks (#35 & #52), I've tried to rate the prospects they've worked out in tiers based on a combination of game film, scouting reports, and statistics.

Notable players who did not workout for the Warriors

Click here for the full list of players who did work out for the Warriors.

The following is a brief look at some notable players who did not work out for the Warriors.

Obviously, nobody projected to go in the top four by DraftExpress (as of right now) worked out for the Warriors (that would include Michael Kidd-Gilchrist). So the following are players mentioned as worthy prospects who the Warriors did not work out (based upon prominent mock drafts).

  • Jae Crowder
  • Doron Lamb
  • Jeremy Lamb
  • Kendall Marshall
  • Fab Melo
  • Arnett Moultrie
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Austin Rivers
  • Terrence Ross: Was supposed to work out with the Warriors but cancelled due to an ankle injury.
  • Royce White: Royce White cancelled his workout with the Warriors due to an injury.
  • Dion Waiters: For the Warriors, that issue of workouts most directly applies to their reported interest in Syracuse guard Dion Waiters, who refused to work out for them. Warriors owner Joe Lacob has obviously been actively involved in the process - which might avoid a hypothetical dialogue between owner and GM like the one Jonathan Givony described above - but that's still a potential risk.

Draft tiers:

To put together these tiers, I began with the Warriors' workout list and took into account both observation a sampling of data from a number of resources (in no particular order):

Obviously, if you've been keeping track of those resources you know that their opinions on various players vary and in some cases quite widely. And it would be difficult to even find a majority opinion of the players the Warriors have worked out, which means potential success with the Warriors in particular matters.

So I'm not going to step aside and just do a consensus draft board by a rotisserie style ranking; instead, I'm going to do my best to put together a Warriors-specific draft board based on who they worked out (meaning players they did not work out will not be on this list).

Just as a reminder, the way tiers work is that we group prospects based on who might be expected to have similar output in the pros. Normally you would tier by "elite" to "all-star" to "starter" etc, but for the purposes of these tiers, we'll be starting with the top group of players available to the Warriors and moving down. Since they worked out 60 players, I have left off players who don't project well.

Without further ado, here is what I have come up with along with some brief commentary.

2012 Golden State Warriors NBA Draft Tiers

(Player name, date of workout)

Tier 1

Andre Drummond

John Henson (June 14)

Commentary:

  • I know some people would have Drummond in a category of his own but the fact that the Warriors flew cross-country to see him and immediately jumped back into trade discussions - either to trade up or down - says that they saw something they didn't like that might not be present in the statistics or game film. But he's ranked #2 on the DraftExpress board overall and third (among those the Warriors worked out) by Ed Weiland of HoopsAnalyst. And just the fact that he possess similarities with players that are actually still in the league puts him above some of the rest on the Warriors' workout list (HH - Tristan Thompson, Robin Lopez, Derrick Favors; BP - Kosta Koufos). We know all the concerns that might lead one not to rate him this high, but Weiland makes a reasonable point about the market value of bigs with physical tools selected #2 in the past who have been less than stellar: the Memphis Grizzlies traded Hasheem Thabeet for Shane Battier, who was a key part of the Heat's NBA Finals success; Detroit turned Darko Milicic into the draft pick that yielded Rodney Stuckey; Washington traded Kwame Brown for Caron Butler. Bigs have value, even if they're considered among the biggest busts of all time, which makes them a bit more valuable in a draft full of suspect prospects.
  • But the concerns about Drummond are why I wouldn't put him in a tier above Henson. Although there is no consensus about the players who the Warriors worked out, Henson is the guy consistently ranked among the highest of the group - if nothing else, he is expected to rebound and defend, which is a bit more certainty than almost anyone else can claim. Ironically though, the similarity ratings don't particularly like Henson (HH- Josh Boone/Ed Davis; BP- Larry Sanders).

Tier 2:

Meyers Leonard (June 23)

Terrence Jones (June 11)

Damian Lillard (June 17)

Harrison Barnes

Commentary:

  • You already know my thoughts on the Golden State Warriors' pursuit of Harrison Barnes.
  • DraftExpress does have Lillard ranked #7 on their prospect rankings, but the questions about the extent to which Lillard can play point guard lessen his value to the Warriors compared to Drummond and Henson for two reasons: 1) it's just more difficult to find draft-worthy bigs in general and 2) there are plenty of perimeter options, though possibly inferior, available later in the draft. Given the Warriors' needs and the questions about Lillard, it's just hard to put Lillard ahead of Drummond/Henson. Hickory High's similarity ratings do make a very favorable comparison though: Stephen Curry.
  • Although Leonard has upside, DraftExpress makes an observation that makes him a less-than-ideal candidate for the Warriors in their situational statistics analysis: "Leonard crashes the offensive glass least frequently of any player in this group, and doesn't stand out in any other area besides his strong finishing ability (1.417 PPP, 7th best)." But I'm still favoring big over small in the case of Leonard vs. Lillard.
  • Terrence Jones actually has two of the more impressive similarity comparisons on this list: Basketball Prospectus has him as similar to LaMarcus Aldridge and Hickory High has Luol Deng as his second closest similarity with Rudy Gay more similar to Jones than many other players are to their closest similarities. Both DraftExpress and Hoops Analyst rate him as a top 10 prospect, but DX's situational stats also knock Jones down a bit: "His 1.156 PPP finishing around the basket ranked just 8th in the group, and this is of huge importance for him given these accounted for 55.9% of his overall possessions, third highest in the group."

Tier 3:

Moe Harkless (June 24)

Tyler Zeller (June 11)

Jared Sullinger (June 14)

Will Barton (June 2)

Commentary:

This is a set of players that I would expect to be off the board by the time the Warriors make their pick at 30, but could be available if they choose to make a trade down.

  • Harkless could develop into that defensive presence on the wing that the Warriors could use despite the fact that he doesn't shoot all that well.
  • On Zeller, Levy notes that, "Over the past five drafts, nine different college players have entered the NBA having averaged at least 5.0 OReb/40 their last season in college – Kevin Love, Joey Dorsey, Jordan Hill, Jon Brockman, DeJuan Blair, DeMarcus Cousins, Al Farouq-Aminu, Kenneth Faried and Josh Harrellson. While not all of those players have gone on to stardom, all have continued to do work on the offensive glass." Zeller might not have a whole lot of upside, but if he can run the floor and rebound he can be an asset. Interestingly though, he draws comparisons to smaller players like Lonny Baxter (BP) and Channing Frye/LaMarcus Aldridge (HH).
  • Weiland notes that Barton might actually be a stronger prospect than Terrence Ross, "...because he’s a better passer, has slightly better defensive numbers and boasts that 56% 2PP."
  • Sullinger's stock depends on how each individual team's doctors evaluate his back issue. But if he falls to 30 he might be worth the risk if the Warriors' strength & conditioning team believes they can work with him to keep him healthy.

Tier 4

Perry Jones III (June 11)

Jeff Taylor (May 28)

Quincy Miller (June 23)

Festus Ezeli (June 11)

Kyle O’Quinn (May 23)

Orlando Johnson (May 22)

Tony Wroten (May 28)

Marquis Teague (June 14)

Commentary:

This is the field of players that should be available at 30 and possibly at 35 as well in a few cases.

  • Perry Jones III has a red flag on him as of today but even before that strikes so many as a project that it's hard to think that he really fits into the Warriors' plans - the last thing you want is another Anthony Randolph situation where they're looking to part ways with him before he has the chance to develop into a productive player. But if he's there at 30, it would be hard to justify not taking him.
  • Quincy Miller is by no means a perfect prospect, but his similarities at Hickory High are interesting: Rudy Gay, Xavier Henry, Luol Deng (and Lance Stepheson, in agreement with BP). Both Canis Hoopus and Hoops Analyst rated him as equivalent to Harkless, but I side with DX in giving Harkless the edge.
  • We've discussed Jeff Taylor elsewhere and DX has him ranked #15 on their list; it wouldn't surprise me if he was off the board by the time the Warriors pick at 30.
  • Festus Ezeli is an interesting case. He's big and he can probably step in and defend, but his inability to score efficiently and tendency to turn the ball over had him rated rather low by both DX and Hoops Analyst.
  • Tony Wroten is a guy Hoops Analyst likes quite a bit though DraftExpress has him rated as a top 30 prospect with the Warriors selecting him with the #30 pick most recently. But the comparisons suggest that he doesn't project as the type of point guard that we might hope the Warriors add: while Hickory High compares him to Tyreke Evans and BP compares him to Trevor Ariza. His inability to shoot and inconsistent defensive focus in his first year at Washington suggest that he might take some time to develop and the Warriors have been explicit that they don't necessarily want that.
  • Kyle O'Quinn is a guy that the Warriors would probably consider more at #35 than #30, but his statistics across the board suggest a player who will be able to find a place in the league. The Hickory High similarity of Jason Thompson sounds reasonable.

Tier 5:

Draymond Green (May 28)

Jared Cunningham (May 21)

Kevin Jones (May 28)

Tyshawn Taylor (May 26)

Commentary:

  • You have to like Green's versatility, but it's not clear how well he'll be able to defend at the next level and what elements of that versatile game will transfer well to the NBA.
  • Tyshawn Taylor could grow into a role defensive specialist and has speed that might help him find a spot in the league. Or he could be Acie Law, as BP projects.

Tier 6:

Mitchell Watt (May 23)

Scott Machado (May 28)

Tony Mitchell (June 2)

Drew Gordon (May 23)

Quincy Acy (May 23)

Bernard James (June 14)

Henry Sims (June 16)

Tomas Satoransky (June 17)

Lazeric Jones (June 23)

Jorge Gutierrez (May 21)

Tu Holloway (May 28)

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