Did you know that the Golden State Warriors are in the running for All-World power forward Kevin Love? With updates, non-updates, rumors, fake rumors, posturing, fake-posturing, and sources coming up every second, it's easy to lose sight that the NBA Draft is around the corner. The Warriors will select.....well, hmm. That's why we forgot about it.
While the Warriors don't own a draft pick (thanks Marcus Williams!) they do have ammunition, they hope, to get into the first or second round. Most teams can purchase a second round pick through "cash considerations" but it's not likely since impact players rarely surface in that range and with Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson (maybe) on the block, it should garner a late-first or lottery pick, respectively.
But that unlikeliness aside, I wouldn't be doing my work as a fifthteenth-rate scout if I didn't prepare us for the notion that several talented players might be on the board when the Warriors do select, if at all. The Warriors as a team lack, depending on what happens; a backup point that can shift Stephen Curry to the two; a defensive center that's quick enough to pick up screens and present a different style; and all the shooters. If Thompson or Barnes is flipped, then a 3-and-D wing becomes a necessity, despite Draymond Green's emergence. And again, the need for an impact player probably tosses out some prospects from the Draft Board like Zach LaVine, Joel Embiid, Elfrid Payton, and Noah Vonleh.
Of course, none of this takes into account the developmental ability of a team to fit a player into their scheme that maximizes their ability.
Lottery Pick Prospects:
The Michigan product, my favorite player in this year's Draft, is billed as a shooting guard but from watching his game develop from his freshman to sophomore year, he can very much play both guard positions at the NBA level. Stauskas began as strictly a SG, spacing the floor for Trey Burke and shooting mostly 3s, at a 43.9 clip on 4.7 attempts. When Burke left, Stauskas was shouldered with more responsibility and responded with an increase in shots (from distance and inside) while maintaing the same percentages.
Like Curry, Stauskas is and will always be known as a shooter. Also like Curry, they have underrated playmaking ability - nearly 30 percent of his possessions came on a PNR - that has blossomed while underlying their flashier offensive game. Most video I saw of him showed off his ability to create his own shot and shoot off the dribble, which is alarmingly familiar. Like Curry, his lack of defensive tools makes it hard to keep him on the floor unless he's dominating on the other end. Here's thinking he will function just fine as a third addition to either the incumbent Splash Brothers or the brand new one.
Comparison: Tall Patty Mills (more likely the next comparison)
Past Golden State Warriors Player Comparison: Poor Man's Stephen Curry
A very prime Luke Ridnour-ish player, Ennis controls the pace of the game and is the stereotypical "point guard" the old-timers love. He never turns the ball over - 3.5 assist-to-turnover ration in his one season at Syracuse - and has a reliant jumper if he's left open. For those that crave the opposite guard that will pass to Curry, Ennis is that guy. More a last-first round pick then lottery type, Ennis is perhaps too high of a cost for the Warriors to think about drafting.
As for the defense, it's hard to discern what he is good at because of the Orange's lack of an actual scheme (running a despicable zone despite high-caliber athletes). But his length (around 6'5") and lack of athleticism probably rates him as an average player on that side of the ball. If the Warriors can flip Barnes for Ennis, it wouldn't be the worst move for a franchise that needs to maximize Green's minutes while protecting the team's offense with Curry off the floor.
Comparison: Luke Ridnour
Past Golden State Warriors Player Comparison: Marcus Williams or What Marcus Williams Should Have Been
Late-First Round Prospects:
Everyone's favorite pre-draft sleeper, Anderson is hilariously entertaining to watch. He doesn't necessarily baffle defenders despite his total lack of speed, but overpowers and bullies guys to and around the rim. Anderson isn't fast but is nimble and agile in getting to open shots and either making a pass or tossing up a jumper.
Anderson is the type of prospect that separates fans between two extremes. If you are enamored with him, he has zero weaknesses. He is a capable ball-handler at 6' 9", an improving shooter, and possesses magnificent anticipatory skills and basketball IQ.
If you're not on the bandwagon, Anderson is a player that will likely become turnover-prone due to his height and lack of athleticism (LeBron James is the rare large wing that can dribble, even Kevin Durant has problems with turnovers). Getting to the rack unhindered and finishing might become a problem and lastly, if he isn't in a system that maximizes his ability to move the ball (see: last year's Warriors) it's a match made in hell. For these Warriors and in Steve Kerr's apparent brand new flashy system, he might be a perfect fit.
Comparison: Charlotte Boris Diaw or San Antonio Boris Diaw
Past Golden State Warriors Player Comparison: 2008 Chris Webber or We Believe Capt Jack
The point guard on an underwhelming team led by Zach LaVine and Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams has an unteachable 6'10" wingspan to go with his 6'5" figure. He isn't necessarily quick, strong, athletic, or a great shooter. What he does do well is score at an efficient rate using his ability to pick his spots. Like how Ennis is excellent at anticipating passing lanes and offensive schemes, Adams is great at scoring in transition and off broken plays. Since UCLA ran such a vanilla offense that didn't suit their athletes, it allowed Adams to simply drive as he pleased.
With the Curry-less offense lacking punch, Adams can be worked in as strictly a scorer, getting to the rack and creating for himself. Unless Green, Iguodala, and Klay suddenly develop a blend of aggressiveness and ball-handling, there needs to be another creator on the floor when Curry is resting.
Adams is, as expected, a tad slow on defense but the Warriors have built a solid defensive developmental program and the expectation is his length and size should help him succeed at the next level.
Comparison: Reggie Jackson
Past Golden State Warriors Player Comparison: Jarrett Jack Because Will Shoot
An impossibly long athlete - nearly 6'10" with a 7'4" wingspan - Payne should have no trouble getting his shot off at the NBA level, despite the slower release. He's my second favorite player in the Draft behind Stauskas, reworking his game his senior season into a stretch 4/5, capably attacking off the dribble and spotting up from behind the arc.
Of course, the big question mark revolves around his small lungs, hindering his ability to play big minutes or experiencing general fatigue quicker than most. His defense remains a question mark but that is not unlike most prospects. The hiring of Ron Adams should work just fine as we hope he develops defensively like another Michigan State product on the Warriors.
Past Golden State Warriors Player Comparison: Troy Murphy Sans Broken Psyche
After a tantalizing 2013 NCAA Tournament run, McGary opted to go back to college for his sophomore season and the decision backfired when he missed nearly every game with a back injury. Once a potential lottery pick, McGary is likely to settle in as a late-first, second round selection. Not to get all stereotypical on you, but what McGary does well translates well to RAPM lovers and the like. He's an aware passer in the post and off rebounds, sets strong screens, and crashes the boards like a maniac.
As strictly a shot-blocker, McGary possess a wingspan under 7-feet and won't protect the rim like even a Festus Ezeli can. There are more projectable players in the Draft, including guys like Jarnell Stokes, Clint Capela, or even Patric Young. But if McGary develops a reliable jump shot (still iffy) he's a productive bench big for a long time.
Past Golden State Warriors Player Comparison: David Lee Body Type with Andrew Bogut's Skillset (this might not be good)
Good. Great. Awesome.
Comparison: Get him.
Past Golden State Warriors Player Comparison: Get him Part Deux