The Dubs are slated to pick at No. 7 and No. 14 following the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery. It was no surprise to see the Warriors stick at No. 14, given that they only had a 2.4 percent chance to move into the top four.
The big key for the Warriors going into the lottery was what would happen with the Minnesota Timberwolves’ top-three-protected pick. Minnesota went into the lottery with the sixth-best odds to get the No. 1 pick and had a 9.6 percent chance at being No. 4.
Instead, the pick came in at No. 7, which was the most likely outcome. Myers spoke to the media following the lottery. Despite pundits believing that the 2021 NBA Draft has a steep drop off following the top five picks, he likes the position the franchise is heading into the summer (h/t Anthony Slater of The Athletic).
“I don’t know if it’s just going to be five players (considered the top tier),” Myers said. “I don’t know if it will narrow down to a four-player draft or three or it will become a six-player draft or seven. But that’s what this process is about. I mean, you’re going to find whatever you thought of today may change. I do know this: I can find 14 players, and I think our group can, that we like. So I think if we can find 14, we can find seven, and it is really deep. And that’s not me saying that because we have two picks. Make your own determination, but it is in our opinion a pretty deep draft. So it’s nice to have two picks in it.”
Now that we know where the Warriors are scheduled to pick let’s look at which prospects they land in the first mock drafts from some media outlets.
ESPN has the Warriors taking Baylor PG Davion Mitchell (No. 7) and U Conn SG James Bouknight (No. 14):
Mitchell: The Warriors elected to select James Wiseman over LaMelo Ball last year with the short-term goal of maximizing their championship window, and with Stephen Curry a year closer to free agency, they might feel pressure to again take the player they believe helps them get closer to their glory days. Mitchell is one of the best in the draft on defense, an area in which the Warriors will want to continue to emphasize in protecting Curry from burnout, while also possessing strong playmaking and shot-making instincts that should allow him to operate in a variety of lineup configurations alongside their existing core.
Bouknight: Every NBA team is looking to add the type of shot-creation and shot-making prowess offered by Bouknight, who has ample versatility to play in a variety of different lineup configurations. Bouknight’s scoring instincts, ability to hit difficult shots off the dribble and long-term potential could be very attractive at this stage of the draft.
The Athletic has the Warriors taking Bouknight (No. 7) and Real Madrid forward Usman Garuba (No. 14):
The player: Bouknight is a terrific athlete with great scoring acumen. At 6-foot-5 with long arms, he has good size for the off-guard position. His game is built off of the playground. He has tremendous shake and has potential to be a genuine three-level scorer in the NBA. He’s an absolutely tremendous finisher for a guard, who absorbs contact and finishes through it. Anything you’re looking for in a guy’s bag from a craft perspective, Bouknight has it, and it’s a fun game to watch. Ultimately though, he needs to prove that he can knock down shots at a bit of a better clip, given that it needs to be a genuine plus skill with what his game will be.
The fit: The Warriors will be looking for immediate help, either in the form of a draft pick who can help now or a trade. The Warriors really lacked offensive creation last season in the backcourt any time that Stephen Curry left the floor. Bouknight is the kind of creative force who can put pressure on the rim. His ability to create off the bounce in between Curry and Klay Thompson would be a blast to watch.
The player: Defense, defense, defense. Garuba is already one of the best defenders in Europe as a teenager and profiles as a potential All-Defense Team guy in the NBA by the time he’s 25. He can defend on the interior, with terrific fundamentals for verticality and weak-side shot blocking. His ability to slide his feet and drop his hips laterally is ridiculous, and his instincts as a pick-and-roll defender are terrific. The problems come on offense. He’s still not a particularly effective player on that end, but there have been signs of progress. He has been making more 3s recently, but it’s going to take some time. He can also pass the ball out of short rolls a bit, and he’s not totally afraid to put the ball on the deck.
The fit: The Warriors took James Wiseman last year, so this might seem a bit odd. But at the end of the day, I think they’ll just take the guy that they think fits their scheme best and who helps them most. To me, Garuba is a spectacular fit whose ability to read the game defensively would appeal to this Warriors team. I’m also looking pretty heavily at the Warriors possibly moving their pick here in a bigger deal, given how incredible Stephen Curry looked this year. If Klay Thompson comes back at anywhere near past Splash Brothers levels, they’re an immediate contender again. It also helps that they were able to fill a hole with the above pick with Bouknight, although again, don’t be surprised to see one of those picks moved.
The Ringer has the Warriors taking Mitchell (No. 7), and Oregon G Chris Duarte (No. 14):
Mitchell measured shorter than teams were hoping at the NBA draft combine this week, but he still plays bigger than his body suggests as a gritty, strong defender. The Warriors could use a scorer off the bench like him, too. If you consider what Golden State was missing last season, it’s a player like him. Mitchell could help now, and be a bridge toward sustaining success into the future.
Though Duarte is on the older side for a first-round pick, shooting is a premium skill in the NBA. There are two approaches to the draft: upside or certainty. Finding a balance is often a best-case scenario, but in this case the Warriors could have him come in right away and make an impact on his affordable rookie contract, serving as a valuable backup to Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
CBS Sports has the Warriors taking Mitchell (No. 7) and Turkish C Alperen Sengun (No. 14):
Mitchell: There’s a strong belief that the Warriors will try to package this pick and move it for a veteran who is better equipped to help a core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green compete for another title next season. But if they can’t get that done, an intriguing option would be Davion Mitchell, a tenacious on-ball defender whose playmaking ability — and shotmaking ability — just helped Baylor win its first national title.
Sengun: With or without James Wiseman in Golden State’s plans, the Warriors are pretty light in the frontcourt. Adding Alperen Sengun, a throwback center who has been a professional in Turkey since 2018, would qualify as a sensible move and give Steve Kerr someone who is already very comfortable catching the ball at the elbow and using a face-up game to score and draw fouls.
SB Nation has the Warriors taking Duke F Jalen Johnson (No. 7) and Australian PG Josh Giddey (No. 14):
Johnson was supposed to be Duke’s next one-and-done superstar, but he left an underwhelming team in mid-February to prepare for the draft. The talent that made Johnson a consensus top-10 recruit was on display at times during his brief college career, but Johnson still feels like one of the bigger wildcards in this class. Johnson thinks of himself as a 6’9 point-forward who can grab a rebound, push in transition, and finish above the rim himself or find a teammate. That works better on the break than in the halfcourt, where he’s not quite shifty enough to initiate offense. Johnson can make an impact on cuts and putbacks against a set defense, but he’s a shaky three-point shooter who can’t be counted on to space the floor.
Johnson is also interesting on the defensive end, where he put up an impressive six percent block rate and 3.1 percent steal rate thanks in part to a 7-foot wingspan. He can offer supplemental rim protection and get into the passing lanes while theoretically being capable of switching. The big swing factor for Johnson is how his three-point shot develops. While his game has obvious strengths and weaknesses, this feels like the right place to gamble on him for the Warriors.
Giddey is a 6’8 Australian point guard who exploded onto draft boards after a tremendous debut year in the NBL. Giddey profiles as one of the best passers in the draft thanks to his combination of size and preternatural feel that allows him to think two steps ahead of the opposing defense. While he’s unlikely to be a big-time scorer, Giddey also contributes on the glass and slowly improved his three-point shot (29.3 percent on 3.5 attempts per game) as the season went along.
Giddey has significant athletic and strength limitations and may need to be protected on the defensive end early in his career, but his size, intelligence, and growth curve (he doesn’t turn 19 years old until October) gives him a bright future. In a way, taking Giddey with this pick could help make up for the Warriors’ decision to pass on LaMelo Ball at No. 2 overall last year.
With a core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the Warriors are hoping to re-join the NBA’s upper echelon next season.
It remains to be seen what Myers does with the picks, but as owner Joe Lacon told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic last week, the Warriors are in a tough spot to add an established veteran piece, given their luxury tax situation.
If the Warriors do end up keeping both picks, which mock draft scenario do you think would be the best outcome for the team?