When Stephen Curry injured his hand during the fourth game of the season, the writing was on the wall that the Golden State Warriors would use 2019-20 as a reset year. We knew All-Star guard Klay Thompson would be out for the season after tearing his ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals, and with five-straight appearances in the finale, the organization needed to refresh itself.
General manager Bob Myers moved several players during the season as the Dubs stumbled to a 15-50 finish. We knew Golden State would have a high pick, and the hope was that the Warriors would add a cornerstone piece not only to win now but for the future.
Looking at the 2020 NBA Draft class, there are no surefire prospects who will change the league’s landscape for years to come. Georgia guard Anthony Edwards seemed poised to go No. 1, but questions about his character have cooled down those talks. LaMelo Ball is getting plenty of buzz, but so was his older brother Lonzo — who went second overall in 2017 — and he hasn’t lived up to expectations.
The other names being discussed as high picks are James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, Deni Avdija and Tyrese Haliburton. All of them have their strengths, but they also come with plenty of question marks.
With no Zion Williamson or Luke Doncic type player available, this shaping up to be one of the weakest drafts of the century. Looking back at some of the previous NBA Draft classes, there are a few comparables.
In 2000, Kenyon Martin was projected to go No. 1 for basically the entire NCAA season, and that is after breaking his leg during the Conference USA tournament. It was a mess after that. The Vancouver Grizzlies took Stromile Swift second, and he never panned out into any more than a role player. The L.A. Clippers selected Darius Miles No. 3, who had some nice moments but eventually washed out of the league. The 2000 draft produced just three All-Stars, Martin, Jamaal McGloire and Michael Redd (taken 43rd overall).
Just six years later, the Toronto Raptors went international and took Andrea Bargnani with the top pick. LaMarcus Aldridge went second; Rudy Gay went 8th, J.J Redick (11th) and Rajon Rondo (21st) have had excellent NBA careers. Brandon Roy went No. 6, and if injuries didn’t rob of him of his career, he would have been a perennial All-Star and easily the best player from the 2006 draft class.
Anthony Bennett went first to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013 and hasn’t played an NBA game since the 2016-17 season. The Orlando Magic took Victor Oladipo No. 2, who has had a promising NBA career, but his gruesome leg injury looks to have robbed him of the abilities he displayed as an All-Star. Oladipo is the only player from the top 10 selections of the 2013 draft class to participate in an All-Star game. The saving grace from the 2013 class is that reigning back-to-back NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo went 15th to the Milwaukee Bucks and the Denver Nuggets snagged Rudy Gobert at No. 27 before trading him to the Utah Jazz.
What does it all mean for the Warriors? Trading down is the best option. Golden State has been rumored to like each of the projected top five picks leading up to the draft, which is more of a smokescreen than anything else.
Looking back at previous drafts with so much uncertainty, trading back while picking up a future asset is the way to go. Myers and co. could land a player like Haliburton, Devin Vassell or Onyeka Okongwu around the Nos. five-to-nine range who could turn out to be the best player from this draft class.
We won’t know for a few years who the best player from the 2020 NBA Draft will be, but there is no guarantee he will be a top-three selection.
On to some links:
What are the Big 3 saying to Myers about the draft? The Dubs’ GM shares what Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green’s thoughts are on what the team should do with the No. 2 pick. (SLAM)
Who is the ideal trade target for the Warriors? Patrick Murray of Forbes looks at if Jrue Holiday or Bradley Beal is the better fit with the Dubs.
LaMelo Ball will be a top five pick this season. One former Golden State player believes he is the right prospect for the Warriors. (NBC Bay Area)