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NBA Draft 2019: Warriors meet needs while other teams make puzzling moves

The surprising set of players available with the 28th pick reflected a first round that had all the unpredictability you could possibly want from a draft.

2019 NBA Draft Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Leading up to the Golden State Warriors’ pick 28 selections into the first round, the Golden State of Mind crew was excited to see Bol Bol, KZ Okpala, Kevin Porter, Jr., and Keldon Johnson still on the board in addition to Carsen Edwards, who we all expected to see.

Putting aside whatever you feel about the Warriors pick of Jordan Poole, the set of prospects who ended up being available at 28 reflected a first round full of unexpected and sometimes even bizarre selections fueled by a flurry of trades. Although Bol and Nicolas Claxton were the only two left in the green room entering the second round, a number of prospects went higher than expected which bumped a bunch of others down.

An unpredictable draft got unpredictable

As discussed prior to the draft, there were a number of prospects whose standing in this draft was uncertain and that’s what ended up playing out. Among the most bizarre picks was the Washington Wizards selection of Rui Hachimura, the first Japanese-born player to be drafted in the first round, with the ninth pick of the draft. Apparently, they went full #blogboy and drafted him without ever having talked to him or worked him out ahead of time.

Whatever you think of his NBA potential, that’s a weird way to run a franchise. But hey, Wizards gonna wizard.

But that’s sort of how the night went: players like Cameron Johnson, Chuma Okeke, and, yes, Poole went higher than expected while guys like Bol, Claxton, Nasir Little, and Keldon Johnson to fall a bit. Others will surely be grading the picks based on expected value to their teams, but based on the information we have in front of us today those falls were shocking.

Bol Bol’s fall was the most surprising

Even the great Adrian Wojnarowski was surprised by the fall of Bol Bol, who had been considered a top prospect entering the season and expected by most mock drafts to fall no further than 26th.

It seemed like a foregone conclusion prior to the draft that Bol would be gone by the 28th pick in the first round; Bol ended up being around for the Warriors’ 39th and 41st picks. Plenty will probably be written about his fall over the next few days, but for now we’re as surprised as anyone by that.

Trades dominated the first round

While the Warriors made a somewhat minor trade in the second round to acquire the pick that became Alen Smailagic, the first round featured a flurry of trades that reshaped the predicted order of things.

The Phoenix Suns in particular made some, uh, interesting trades, as captured concisely by Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. After describing the Suns’ selection of Cameron Johnson as “an extreme reach” that was “questionable, given the way this draft seemed slated to fall,” here’s how he described the 24th pick:

Phoenix has had a bit of a puzzling day at the draft, ultimately maneuvering out of No. 6, down to No. 11, and then coming back here at No. 24 to get this pick from Boston, who had just acquired it from Philadelphia. This is much better value than Cam Johnson at No. 11, and the hope is that Jerome’s impressive shooting, intangibles and basketball savvy turn him into a viable role player.

But it was that kind of night — it was wild in the sense that teams were defying expectations and making trades on the fly, but you have to assume a team like the Suns will come out of this with some sort of explanation for what they did that will make everything seem more tame in retrospect.

The Warriors filled needs without making a big splash

Unlike the past few years when the Warriors have picked up players like Patrick McCaw or Jordan Bell — players who people immediately regarded as huge steals — this year’s picks might raise some eyebrows, perhaps more so because of all that activity swirling around them that led to some surprising names being on the board. And the fact that there was a bit of buzz before the draft about the Warriors actively seeking trades.

Woo described the selection of Jordan Poole as “...a bit of a surprise, but not altogether a reach for Golden State.” And the second round picks of Smailagic and Eric Paschall probably won’t do all that much to excite the fan base in the near term. But the guys they’re walking away with certainly fit the needs they had coming into the draft: shooting and frontcourt depth.

Brady Klopfer has already written about the picks and you can read more there.

Warriors select Jordan Poole with No. 28 pick

Warriors trade for picks, draft Alen Smailagic and Eric Paschall

After getting the guys they wanted, the Warriors ended up selling the 58th pick to the Utah Jazz — whether they had a guy in mind that wasn’t there or simply felt they didn’t need to take on another prospect is something that we’ll probably here more about over the next few days.

For now, let us know how you feel about the Warriors’ draft night by voting in the poll — I know that I already dismissed grades as pointless so I’m doing something different — and share how you feel in the comments below.


Which Warriors’ draftee are you most excited by?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Jordan Poole (#28)
    (344 votes)
  • 18%
    Alen Smailagic (#39)
    (430 votes)
  • 23%
    Eric Paschall (#48)
    (547 votes)
  • 6%
    All of the above!
    (163 votes)
  • 11%
    None of the above!
    (260 votes)
  • 25%
    Wake me when KD makes a decision...
    (587 votes)
2331 votes total Vote Now

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