The Golden State Warriors weren't lucky enough to see Michael Kidd-Gilchrist fall to them at #7 tonight, but they did start the night with a player they wanted: North Carolina wing Harrison Barnes.
After that, things continued to go pretty well as far as we're concerned:
- Golden State Warriors Select HARRISON BARNES with 7th Pick!
- Golden State Warriors Select FESTUS EZELI with 30th Pick!
- Golden State Warriors Select DRAYMOND GREEN with 35th Pick!
- Golden State Warriors Select OGNJEN KUZMIC with 52nd Pick!
Now that the Warriors have made their picks, how exactly might these guys help our team?
We've spent plenty of time scrutinizing all of these guys over the last few weeks - and will spend plenty more over the next few days/months - but for now we can just enjoy the draft night euphoria a little while longer by dreaming a little about how good these guys might become using similarity projections from Basketball Prospectus and Hickory High.
#7. Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina Tar Heels
- Ceiling (Hickory High): Rudy Gay, F, Memphis Grizzlies
- Floor (Basketball Prospectus): Terrico White, Idaho Stampede
It has been well-known for some time that the Warriors were looking to upgrade the small forward spot with a projected (meaning "if healthy") starting lineup including Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee, and Andrew Bogut.
Although Luol Deng is the closest upside similarity to Barnes among the Hickory High similarities, Rudy Gay (a little further down) might be a better comparison upside comparison than Deng because Barnes hasn't yet demonstrated that he will be the elite defender that Deng is.
It would be great if he could reach the level of Rudy Gay, but if he can just come out and defend on the wing every night he'll be a huge asset to the Warriors - the Warriors are not exactly lacking for scoring as things stand now. But most of all, the Warriors said that they were looking for someone who could come in and be ready to play now; for better or worse, we know what we're getting in Barnes and that's more than what can be said for many other players.
#30. Festus Ezeli, 6'11", C, Vanderbilt
- Upside (Hickory High): Robin Lopez, C, Phoenix Suns
- Floor (Basketball Prospectus): Solomon Alabi
My greatest fear of picking a wing at #7 was that there would be no bigs available at #30 for the Warriors to select. But thanks to a few guys most people thought would go in the second round being selected in the first round, Ezeli was still around and it's a good pickup - he's might not "wow" us with highlight reel plays, but he has a chance to be a solid defensive presence and rebounder, which this team certainly needs more of.
The interesting part about the Basketball Prospectus comparison: Fab Melo (drafted #22) got the same comparison...and was also closely similar to Alabi and Lopez in the Hickory High framework. So he might not have gotten as much spotlight as Melo, but he might end up being as valuable.
Most importantly: Jerry West likes him and In Logo We Trust.
#35. Draymond Green, 6'7", F, Michigan State
|2011-12||Michigan State||Big Ten||37||33.2||.449||.388||.723||10.6||3.8||1.5||0.9||3.0||16.2|
|2010-11||Michigan State||Big Ten||34||30.1||.426||.366||.683||8.6||4.1||1.8||1.1||2.3||12.6|
|2009-10||Michigan State||Big Ten||37||25.5||.525||.125||.672||7.7||3.0||1.2||0.9||1.7||9.9|
|2008-09||Michigan State||Big Ten||37||.556||.000||.615||3.3||0.8||0.6||0.2||0.6||3.3|
Hickory High: Kawhi Leonard, F, San Antonio Spurs
Basketball Prospectus: David Lee, F, Golden State Warriors
The Warriors had more quality options than I thought they would at #35 and, if those similarities mean anything, they might have gotten a steal in Draymond Green. I didn't even do an upside/floor thing with these comparisons: if you buy the methodology behind those comparisons, the Warriors might have gotten value there either way.
At 6'7", there are questions about how much of Green's college game will carryover to the NBA, but what I love about this guy is that he's versatile, plays extremely hard, and he's the type of guy that does all the little things on the court to help the team win.
52. Ognjen Kuzmic, 7'1", C, Malaga
Unfortunately, no similarities for Kuzmic, but you can't teach 7'1" and the Warriors generally can't find it either.
But of course DraftExpress has a scouting report on him.
Defensively, Kuzmic is an impact player in the LEB Gold, blocking 3 shots (#1 in the league) and pulling down 8.1 defensive rebounds per-40 minutes, reminding somewhat of Fran Vazquez with his approach on this end of the floor. Coupling his size and length with his consistent energy level, Kuzmic is a threat to block shots on the ball and on the weakside, showing especially good anticipation and timing on occasion en route to leading the league in blocked shots. His instincts as a shot-blocker appears to be his most promising trait, and is certainly a skill that is in demand amongst NBA teams.
The Warriors will likely have him stay overseas and continue watching his development as they will have little roster space left to accommodate him.
If you just want to be optimistic about this draft, I think this sums it up:
Reality is usually far harsher than pre-draft statistical similarities and draft day hyperbole, but for now we can say this: based on all the work all the "experts" have done all year, the Warriors came out of this draft looking pretty good.
How do you feel about the Warriors' 2012 draft? Vote in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments.