While the Golden State Warriors prepare for the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Semis, the NBA announced the early entry candidates for the upcoming 2015 NBA Draft. As prospects continue to make a decision whether or not to enter their name into the NBA Draft, it is never too early to begin to look at intriguing prospects that may fit in the Warriors' system.
After finishing with the best record in the regular season, Golden State will have the 30th selection in this summer's draft and will get an opportunity to add another impact player to their roster. Even with the last pick in the first round, the Warriors could still nab a serviceable player. Notable draftees at the 30th slot in past years include David Lee (2005), Jimmy Butler (2011) and Festus Ezeli (2012).
With a late first round pick, the Warriors could opt to take the most NBA-ready prospect or go gamble on a higher ceiling player. The best-case scenario would be to draft someone who could contribute to a contender immediately. Considering the Warriors' cap situation and Draymond Green's impending free agency, acquiring talent via the draft will the most viable method to improve the team. As the roster currently stands, there may be a need to add frontcourt depth and a reserve shooting guard with the assumption that not all of GSW's free agents will be retained.
Point Guard: Stephen Curry | Shaun Livingston
Shooting Guard: Klay Thompson | Leandro Barbosa^ | Justin Holiday^ | Brandon Rush^^
Small Forward: Harrison Barnes | Andre Iguodala
Power Forward: Draymond Green^ | Marreese Speights^^ | David Lee | James Michael McAdoo
Center: Andrew Bogut | Festus Ezeli | Ognjen Kuzmic^
^free agent this summer
^^player option this summer
Two ideal molds of a prospect come into mind when analyzing Golden State's potential needs:
- In the backcourt, the Warriors may seek a swingman who can shoot threes off the catch as well as facilitate the offense in a secondary playmaker role.
- On the other hand, an interior presence off the bench would also be something the Warriors consider adding. An extra bonus would be a big man who can defend the rim in addition to stepping out and hitting the mid-range jumper.
R.J. Hunter turned down major offers to play for his father, Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter. Hunter, a 6'5" shooting guard played an integral role in G-State's March Madness run. With nice length and size for the off guard position, Hunter has the potential to be a defender. While he is not an explosive athlete, Hunter is a decent playmaker and excels as a shooter in spot-up 3's and transition 3's.
George Lucas De Paula
With a 7'1" wingspan, George Lucas De Paula is an intriguing Brazilian guard because of his high-upside and physical tools. He is only 18 years old and far from a finished product. Lucas De Paula plays with an uptempo pace and is outstanding in transition. With that in mind, it is no surprise that he will need to work on minimizing his turnovers and learning to play the half-court game. Drafting Lucas De Paula would be more of a development project much like Toronto's Bruno Caboclo.
Chris McCullough, a 6'10" forward has great length and size at the four spot. He suffered a season-ending ACL injury this season at Syracuse which saw his stock drop. Nevertheless, McCullough is a versatile athlete who scores, rebounds and defends. He showed decent passing out of the posts and an ability to stretch the floor with his outside shot. If these skills translate over, McCullough could be an effective all-around contributor in the NBA.
Washington dismissed Robert Upshaw from its basketball program for an unspecified violation of the team policies in January. As the leading shot blocker in the nation at 4.5 blocks per game, Upshaw brings risk and reward to the table. Upshaw has an NBA-ready body and his size and strength will be assets in the NBA. Along with the ability to run the floor and defend the basket, Upshaw is attainable solution as a backup big. However, if he cannot put his off-court troubles behind him, his upside is not worth the gamble.