By this point in human history, you should probably know that internet mock drafts aren’t particularly great at projecting talent in terms of long-term value of NBA Draft prospects.
In fact, as Brandon Boyd described at his blog Boyd Meets World, mock drafts create a sort of groupthink that can negatively influence teams by creating pressure to go against their gut — going against their better judgment to select guys that the angry hordes from their fanbase like with limited information.
Nevertheless, these things do help to frame expectations and give us a sense of who might be available for our pick, especially for a team late in the draft that could use a wing in a draft that is relatively deep in terms of wings — teams like the Golden State Warriors.
Although Lets Go Warriors has tweeted that the Warriors will select the highly touted “best player available”, the mock draft consensus seems to be that the Warriors will select a wing.
The Warriors will pick the best player available at No. 28, as both Myers and Dir of Player Personnel Larry Harris have said they will do.— LetsGoWarriors (@LetsGoWarriors) June 21, 2018
We'll see if who they think is the "BPA" at that time turns out to be a SG, SF, or C.https://t.co/hlDJ3L6oSx
Consensus mock drafts
Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle did a lot of the legwork of compiling mock draft results. All I did was update a couple that had changed and added a few that I have been watching throughout the draft season since the Finals.
Here’s what I found:
Mock draft projections for the Warriors
|DX||Mortiz Wagner, Michigan||F/C|
|SI||Bruce Brown, Miami||G|
|USA Today||Mitchell Robinson, Chalamette High||C|
|CBS Sports||Jacob Evans, Cincinnati||SF|
|NBADraft.net||Gary Trent, Jr., Duke||SG|
|NBA.com||Gary Trent, Jr., Duke||SG|
|Washington Post||Melvin Frazier, Tulane||SF|
|The Ringer||Jacob Evans, Cincinnati||SF|
|SB Nation||Melvin Frazier, Tulane||SF|
|The Athletic||Moritz Wagner, Michigan||F/C|
|SBN Blogger Draft||Khyri Thomas, Creighton||G|
You’ll note that Jacob Evans, Melvin Frazier, Gary Trent and Moritz Wagner have support from multiple mock drafts — you may recall that Frazier and Wagner were on the board when Charlie Stanton selected Khyri Thomas for Golden State of Mind in the SB Nation blogger draft (I too have a soft spot for Thomas). So it seems likely that the Warriors will have that group of players available to choose from at 28 tonight.
Breaking down the Warriors prospect
Charlie has already been through breakdowns here at Golden State of Mind for a few of those guys throughout the year:
So I’m going to look at a few of couple of the guys we didn’t cover quite as much who are getting some buzz as the draft approaches, drawing upon some of the more statistically-oriented analysts.
Jacob Evans rates high statistically
ESPN’s Kevin Pelton lists Jacob Evans as the highest rated college player (13th) among those on the above list — if he’s around at 28, he’d appear to be a pretty strong selection.
I’m surprised Evans hasn’t gotten more buzz as the draft approaches. He’s a modern perimeter player who shot 38 percent on 3s during his college career but also handles the ball well enough to run the Bearcats’ offense at times. Evans is also big enough to defend either backcourt spot and some small forwards. A relatively low usage rate might be working against Evans, along with the fact that poor midrange shooting limited his efficiency (he shot 33 percent on 2-pointers beyond 5 feet, per Synergy Sports tracking).
Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN project him as a 3-and-D guy and that definitely fits what most of us want for the Warriors right now.
Gary Trent, Jr. is definitely a shooter
Evan Zamir summarized a recurrent theme in breakdowns of Trent pretty concisely in Tier 6 of his big board: “Theoretically switchable shooter who practically won’t do anything else other than shooting.”
Pelton elaborated on that a bit noting that Trent, who he has rated as the 18th strongest prospect, is a strong shooter with a low assist rate.
Trent’s father and namesake made four 3s during a nine-year NBA career; Trent, Jr. made at least four in a game six times last season, shooting 40 percent overall. That drives much of Trent’s value, as his assist rate is among the bottom 10 guards in my database, and he shot just 43 percent inside the arc.
D’Anthony Melton probably deserves a mention
Brett Huff tweeted out a statistical approach to a consensus mock draft and big boards; if you look at the mean pick in the purple-ish chart (which is tracking mock drafts), you’ll note that D’Anthony Melton’s mean rates 28th in this draft.
Most interesting, his mean in big boards is 19th and Pelton, in particular, rated him 12th — higher than any of the players mentioned above — and he’s definitely not a shooter. But, once again, Zamir (who had him 17th on his big board) summarized the consensus on him well in his Tier 4 ratings, noting that he’s got the makings of a familiar defensive player.
De’Anthony Melton might be the guard version of Draymond Green in this Draft. He’s a super smart and instinctive player on both ends of the court. He’s somewhat of a polarizing player as you’re either like me where you see potential upside — especially if he can develop enough to be a nominal point guard in certain contexts (think PatBev or playing with LeBron) — or you might just see him as a smallish combo guard (albeit one with a 6’8.5” wingspan) who can’t shoot. I’m going to bet on him becoming a good enough shooter in time that teams give him enough of a chance to latch on, perhaps, not as a full-time starter but as an important rotation player. YMMV.
Which of these guys would you want the Warriors to take?
And now we wait.
For more on prospects that could fit the Warriors, check out Charlie’s big board.
While you’re here though, let’s take a final survey about who the community wants — vote in the poll below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Who would you want the Warriors to select in the 2018 NBA Draft?
This poll is closed
Bruce Brown, Miami
Gary Trent, Jr., Duke
Jacob Evans, Cincinnati
Khyri Thomas, Creighton
Melvin Frazier, Tulane
D’Anthony Melton, USC
Mitchell Robinson, Chalamette High
Moritz Wagner, Michigan