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Ranking the draft picks since 1989: Picks 51-60

Interestingly, the Warriors only made four selections in this range.

Philadelphia 76ers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors have made some spectacular draft picks over the years. They’ve also made some rather horrendous ones. So why not rank them all?

But simply ranking every draft pick in Warriors history would be a little fruitless, because obviously those taken at the top of draft are likely to be better. Instead, I wanted to focus on the players drafted within certain slots.

So I ranked all of the Warriors draft picks by section: Picks 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, and 51-60.

A few notes:

  • I needed a cutoff somewhere, so I went with 1989. Why? That’s when the NBA Draft switched to two rounds. In 1988, for example, there were three rounds and 75 picks. 1971, the first year that they were officially the Golden State Warriors? 19 rounds and 237 players.
  • I’m only using players that the Warriors effectively drafted. Players they technically drafted but traded are not included; however, players they didn’t technically draft but immediately acquired are included. In other words, Antawn Jamison counts but Vince Carter does not.
  • I’m valuing players in a vacuum. It’s a ranking of how good the player is, not how good the selection was. So Adonal Foyle isn’t docked for being taken one slot ahead of Tracy McGrady. That said, I’m including a note as to what other players might have been available, just for context and self-loathing.

OK, let’s get into it, starting with the worst of the group: Picks 51 through 60.

Surprisingly, the Warriors have only made four selections in that range over the last 31 years. And they’ve only made one since 2000.

Part of that is due to the fact that the 51-60 selections are reserved for the best teams, and the Warriors are only recently one of those. Yet even so, the Warriors haven’t picked in that range since rising to the top of the league’s elite; their last selection in the final 10 slots was in 2012, as the team has been trading away those picks in recent years.

But fear not: The Warriors have not been trading away things of high value. Last year they traded the 58th pick, which ended up being Miye Oni. In 2018 it was Thomas Welsh. 2017? Alpha Kaba. 2016? Tyrone Wallace. 2015? Luka Mitrovic.

So they’re not really missing out on a bunch.

Now, without further ado, a complete ranking of the the Warriors 51-60 draft picks from 1989 through 2019. All four of them.

4. Michael McDonald

55th overall, 1995 NBA Draft

Warriors stats

Career stats (1 year, 1 game)
4.0 minutes, 0.0 points, 1.0 rebounds, and 0.0 assists per game

Notable players selected after him
Chris Carr, I guess

Oh, Michael McDonald. The rare NBA player who appeared in only one game in his career, and in that game logged a pair of turnovers in just four minutes, without scoring.

McDonald is part of an important and sad NBA storyline, however. In 1995, B.J. Armstrong — then with the Chicago Bulls — was selected by the Toronto Raptors in the expansion draft. Armstrong refused to play for the Raptors, and was traded to the Warriors, for a package that included McDonald.

And that’s how B.J. Armstrong ended up playing for the Golden State Warriors instead of the Chicago Bulls during Chicago’s second three-peat.

3. Tim Young

56th overall, 1999 NBA Draft

Warriors and career stats (1 year, 25 games)
5.5 minutes, 2.2 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 0.2 assists per game

Notable players selected after him
Manu Ginobili

Like I previously mentioned, I’m judging these picks based on how good the player was, not on how good the selection was. That certainly benefits Young, who was definitely a better player than McDonald, but who was drafted with the 56th pick in a 58-person draft, and still managed to be drafted ahead of a Hall of Famer.

2. Ognjen Kuzmić

52nd overall, 2012 NBA Draft

Warriors and career stats (2 years, 37 games)
4.4 minutes, 0.9 points, 1.0 rebounds, and 0.2 assists per game

Notable players selected after him
Robert Sacre

Kuzmić will forever be in our hearts, because he was a member of the 2015 Warriors championship team, even if he didn’t play in the playoffs. So he’ll always have that!

He doesn’t have much else though, at least at the NBA level. He’s still playing regularly in the EuroLeague, though.

1. Chris Porter

55th overall, 2000 NBA Draft

Warriors and career stats (1 year, 51 games)
22.5 minutes, 8.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game

Notable players selected after him

Porter isn’t just the Warriors best player from this list, but he’s also their best selection. There was no Manu Ginobili waiting behind him; in fact, he was the latest selection in 2000 to actually play an NBA game. Even the undrafted pool from 2000 didn’t produce anyone you’ve heard of, unless you were a hardcore fan of early-2000s basketball.

So why did Porter only play one year in the NBA, despite a decent rookie campaign? It’s actually a little sad. He was arrested for drug and firearm possession in the offseason following his rookie year, and was late in reporting to Warriors camp. They traded him to the Charlotte Hornets, but he missed his flight to Charlotte and was subsequently cut.

He then played professionally in Italy, Portugal, China, New Zealand, and the Philippines, as well as stateside in the Continental Basketball Association, American Basketball Association, United States Basketball League, and D League.

But he never returned to the NBA, and last played in 2016 for the Hawke’s Bay Hawks in New Zealand’s NBL.

So what’s the lesson for Warriors fans, the next time Golden State has a pick that starts with the number 5? Don’t get your hopes up.

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