The Golden State Warriors are entering another pivotal offseason. After missing the playoffs for the second straight year, general manager Bob Myers needs to improve the roster around the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
The Warriors have limited financial resources to add some significant pieces around the Big 3. Golden State only has the $5.9 million mid-level exception to sign a veteran in free agency but does have two big assets at its disposal.
The Warriors could have two lottery picks at the 2021 NBA Draft. Golden State will have its own selection and could potentially get the Minnesota Timberwolves’ pick if it falls outside the top three. If the T-Wolves’ selection does land in the top three, the pick will be unprotected and convey to the Warriors in 2022.
It would be a huge plus for the Warriors to get lucky at the NBA Draft Lottery, which is scheduled for June 22. The consensus is that the top five picks all have the potential to be future All-Stars.
One NBA executive told ESPN’s Mike Schmitz why he is bullish on the top five.
“That top five is potentially as stout as any of the other drafts [since 2000],” one high-ranking NBA executive said. “There are years where the No. 1 pick would never be the No. 1 pick ever again. Some drafts lack that No. 1 pick. This one’s legit. I’m a big fan. There’s legit star power [in the top 5].”
The five highest-rated prospects (in no particular order) are Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs and Jonathan Kuminga. Each brings their own unique skillset to the table, but it appears Cunningham is the favorite to be selected first overall.
Getting some lottery luck will open up more options for Myers. The Warriors could look to package the two picks to acquire another star-level player or elect to try and add some more young talent to support Curry, Thompson and Green.
After adding center James Wiseman with the second overall pick in 2020, Myers could use both picks to help the Warriors build a nucleus for future success as the Big 3 goes into the twilight of their careers.
The Warriors will need some serious luck to move up. Here are the odds for their two selections.
Golden State has the 14th best odds to win the lottery at just 0.5 percent. The Warriors also have a 2.4 percent to land a top-four pick.
Minnesota goes into the lottery with the sixth-best odds of getting the No. 1 pick.
In the top three: 27.6 percent
No. 4: 9.6 percent
No. 5: Zero percent (The T-Wolves can’t move up just one spot due to the structure of the lottery)
No. 6: 8.6 percent
No. 7: 29.7 percent
No. 8: 20.6 percent
No. 9: 3.7 percent
No. 10: 0.2 percent
The team with the best odds has won the lottery in four of the past six seasons. The last time a franchise whose odds were either 10th or lower won the lottery came in 1993 when the Orlando Magic — who had the 11th best odds — moved up to No. 1. More recently, the Los Angeles Lakers climbed up from the 11th best odds to No. 4 in 2019, but that pick (De’Andre Hunter) was sent to the Atlanta Hawks in a trade prior to the draft.
Here is where the team with the sixth-best odds entering the lottery has ended up selecting over the previous five drafts.
2015: No. 6
2016: No. 6
2017: No. 7
2018: No. 7
2019: No. 8
Even though the numbers don’t favor the Warriors, they’re still hoping the ping pong balls will bounce their way. If lady luck is on their side and they’re able to get a top-four pick, it opens up many possibilities for Myers.
Andrew Wiggins would likely have to be included in any deal to land an established veteran in order to make the salaries match. But the allure of adding another young high-end talent would be difficult for Myers to pass up if the selection comes in at No. 4.
What do you think Myers will do with the picks if he gets one in the top four? Do you prefer the Warriors try and add young talent or use them in a trade to bring an established veteran?