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2014 SB Nation Blogger NBA Mock Draft: Experimenting with Harrison Barnes' trade value

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Although the real Warriors don't have a pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, GSoM traded into SB Nation's blogger mock draft and ended up with UCLA's Jordan Adams. The cost: Harrison Barnes. The following is an explanation of how we arrived at that decision.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, SB Nation's NBA bloggers conducted a mock NBA draft that is currently being published in a storystream at Ridiculous Upside.

Although the real Golden State Warriors don't have a pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the fake Warriors - owned and operated by the GSoM staff - decided to use the blogger draft as an opportunity to explore what kind of trade value Harrison Barnes has in terms of how high a draft pick he could net us. Obviously, this wasn't a measure of true market value - Barnes valuation by our colleagues-in-blogging might differ from that of real GM's - but it did give us a sense of how people outside of the Warriors' fanbase see Barnes' value at this point in his career.

After some internal debate, we ended up trading Harrison Barnes to the fake Charlotte Hornets (run by At the Hive) for the 24th pick where we drafted UCLA's Jordan Adams. You can see the official "explanation" at Ridiculous Upside, but there's quite a bit more to it than what was said there so I thought I'd share.

How did we settle on 24?

This actually began prior to the news that the real Warriors were shopping Barnes for a first round pick. We began with a simple question posed by one of our writers: "Does anyone think [Barnes] could net a first round pick anywhere?"

And shortly thereafter, Evanz tweeted the following:

So I contacted At the Hive and asked if they'd be interested in a trade in our little mock draft. They were open to the trade and I simply said it would be contingent on who was available at that point.

Next, we set about making a list of prospects we wanted, which was pretty much the list of players that Andy discussed in his draft post this morning:

  • Nik Stauskas, Michigan
  • Kyle Anderson, UCLA
  • Jordan Adams, UCLA
  • Zach LaVine, UCLA
  • Adreian Payne, UCLA
  • James Young, Kentucky
  • Rodney Hood, Duke

We figured one of those guys might fall to #24 and, if they did, we'd discuss the trade.

While we were waiting, we discussed a couple of additional deals after letting people know that Barnes (and David Lee) were on the trading block:

  • One of the first offers we received was, the Sacramento Kings' #8 pick, Ben McLemore, Derrick Williams, Jason Thompson or Carl Landry or Jason Terry (our choice) for David Lee, Klay Thompson." We rather promptly turned that down and, before you wonder about whether we could've gotten #8 for Barnes, Sactown Royalty packaged that pick as part of a three-way deal that garnered far more than that. And without going through every trade that went down in this wild mock draft, that was pretty much a pattern we faced in trading Barnes: those lottery picks netted far more than we could offer with Barnes and David Lee. So that pretty much took Stauskas off our list of attainable targets...sort of.
  • After getting that offer for the #8, we got an inquiry about Barnes from the Oklahoma City Thunder. We said we'd be open to trading Barnes and got the following two offers: Barnes for a) Jeremy Lamb + #29 OR b) Nick Collison, #21, and #29. There are some questions there about what we'd do with roster space/cap room, but while working that out or seeing if we could use those to move up further in the draft I just said we'd do one or the other contingent on who was there - if Chris Broussard was reporting on this, he probably would have tweeted that the Warriors and Thunder were close to making a deal. 

    Then the Welcome to Loud City staff revolted.

    WTLC manager Zorgon was kind enough to send me their discussion and, long story short, this excerpt pretty much sums up their sentiment: "Barnes is basically Marvin Williams with a better 3 point shot...... Do we really want to trade 2 first rounders and Nick Collison for that?"

    Instead of taking Barnes, they unsuccessfully pursued a deal to move down and get Gerald Green...
  • Speaking of the Suns, they entered the draft with three first round picks and added the 13th pick (when Stauskas was still available) in exchange for the 18th pick, making them a prime candidate to give up a pick and take a veteran. I offered Barnes shortly before the 13th pick and they politely said "no". They then added insult to injury by proceeding to draft Payne (#13) and Stauskas (#14). The Minnesota Timberwolves then drafted Anderson at #18. Great.

In short, there wasn't much market for Barnes - nobody was really asking for him and people were just getting better trades for anything above 20. 21 was out and by that point both Adams and Hood were still on the board, making #24 palatable.

Why Jordan Adams?

Evanz wrote up a description for the Adams selection that was cut down for the Ridiculous Upside post, but here are the parts that got cut for your reference:

Whether it's muscling his way between smaller guards or sneakily losing his defender along the baseline, Adams finds a way to get open, and when he gets the ball he has a knack for putting it in the basket, not via spectacular dunks, but by way of high arcing floaters off the glass and generally just good touch around the basket. He's one of those guys who is deceptively long (remember the 6'10" wingspan) and strong ("pudgy" or "stocky", take your pick).

Between the end of UCLA's season and the combine, Adams had apparently lost 20 pounds. It didn't really show in impressive combine numbers (hard to imagine they could have been much worse), but his ability to lose the weight does demonstrate a solid work ethic.

A few additional points:

  • Canis Hoopus writer vjl110 (@VJL_bball) had Adams rated as the third-best prospect overall in this very deep draft. You can click here to see the Google doc with his full ratings (provided by Canis Hoopus) and see how his ratings compare to Pelton's in this post at Counting the Baskets.
  • While Andy compared Adams to Reggie Jackson today, Pelton's similarity ratings had him as most similar to the following former top-15 picks: Dion Waiters (96.6), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (95.6), Otto Porter (88.8), Paul George (88.7). vjl110's similarity ratings also showed similarity to Caldwell-Pope and Porter, but also a better version of Ronnie Brewer.
  • Ed Weiland of Hoops Analyst found that there were only four "other freshmen and sophomores who have topped .500 2PP, 20.0 P40, 10.0 RSB40 and 2.5 S40 while playing at least 800 minutes as Adams has this past year": Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade, Doug Christie, and Tyreke Evans. It's thus no surprise that Weiland regards Adams as a potential All-Star.
  • As listed at DraftExpress, Adams has the highest PER of any shooting guard in this draft.

Overall, Adams rates as a potential steal as a first round pick if you go by the numbers. While there are concerns about his athleticism, DX notes that he's "one of the most unique players in this class" (for better or worse) and Pelton wrote, "All of the 10 players most similar to Adams were drafted in the top 15, which is another indication he could
be a steal late in the first round."

So is he worth Barnes?

Is #24 too little a return for Harrison Barnes?

The reality is this: if it's true that the real Warriors aren't trading Barnes in a package involving Kevin Love, they're definitely not going to trade him for the 24th pick. But the fact of the matter is that outside of a team searching for deals to move a player who wants out, it's really difficult to imagine them getting a lottery pick out of Barnes - it only takes one GM to be interested to make that happen, but we didn't get very far in this little simulated draft scenario.

Adams might not be your (or their) preferred target, but he is widely regarded as the potential steal of this draft. And if the Warriors can pick up someone a late-round steal who has the potential to meet or exceed Barnes' production, the deal would be worthwhile.

As a fellow blogger said on the listserv shortly after we made the pick, "That's a great job by GSW. They get an undervalued player for an overvalued one, resetting the rookie contract w/4 cheap years. Fantastic."

We generally agree, despite some internal dissent. Do you?

Vote in the poll below and let us know what you think about Barnes value in the comments.