We are less than three weeks away from the 2021 NBA Draft, and many in the basketball world are keeping their eyes on the Golden State Warriors.
The Dubs hold two lottery picks and could be at the center of trade discussions leading up to July 29. General manager Bob Myers could move one or both of the selections to try and add a veteran piece, but if he doesn’t get the right deal, the Warriors could add some young, talented prospects.
The Warriors hold the No. 7 and 14 and need to add some depth around their core pieces. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green make up the championship nucleus for the franchise and are hoping to be back in contention next season.
Golden State needs to add another playmaker to help facilitate the offense, especially when Curry is resting. The good news is that there should be some talented guards available for the Warriors to select at the draft.
Here is who some of the media outlets have the Warriors taking in their latest mock drafts.
ESPN has the Warriors taking Baylor PG Davion Mitchell at No. 7 and Texas PF Kai Jones at No. 14:
The Warriors will likely feel some pressure created by Steph Curry’s age and soon-to-expire contract to return to championship contention as quickly as possible. With that in mind, there will surely be factions of their decision-making circle, particularly in the coaching staff, attracted to Mitchell, arguably the best two-way player in the college game who is fresh off a national championship run at Baylor. Mitchell’s strong playmaking, shot-making instincts and defensive versatility should allow him to operate in a variety of lineup configurations alongside Golden State’s existing core.
Adding length and upside to the frontcourt could be interesting for the Warriors after making a “safer” pick with their earlier selection. Jones is a versatile defender who showed some promise as a floor spacer to complement his rim-running, offensive rebounding and finishing prowess, giving him plenty of potential to grow in the long term.
The Athletic has the Warriors taking Tennessee G Keon Johnson at No. 7 Arkansas wing Moses Moody at No. 14:
The more I think about what could benefit the Warriors the most in this draft, the more I just think about how much they could use competent wing players. Getting Klay Thompson back on the floor for the first time in two-plus years will be the biggest addition to this team. We saw just how meaningful it was last season when Andrew Wiggins would have a good game or Kelly Oubre was making shots. The Warriors need good, athletic wings next to their stars to truly play the style of basketball that makes them the most successful.
It’s why I like Keon Johnson here. He’s the craziest leaper in the draft, and he has phenomenal speed control and body control when attacking. He’s maybe 6-foot-5, so it would be nice if he was a little taller, but he makes up for it a little with a wingspan just over 6-foot-7. I think he can easily refine that jumper to be effective when all that gravity is going toward the Splash Brothers. If the Warriors walk away with two good wings, it’s a huge draft for them.
Is a trade possible? I still think we have to be aware of the Warriors’ aggressive approach to finding more stars. With No. 7, No. 14 and even James Wiseman, they have a great trade package to throw at someone if they believe they can grab another star next to their champions. I’m not convinced the Warriors keep these picks.
Moses Moody to the Warriors at No. 14 is still my favorite late-lottery-pick idea.
If he’s still around, I love the idea of Moody landing with the Warriors. Moody is such an impressive 3-and-D wing prospect. He’s 6-foot-6 with a 7-foot wingspan. He’s tireless as a defender and makes your life hell when you’re trying to score or even just get open. He’s not as good as Mikal Bridges, but he defends in a very similar manner. He’s physical, he’s quick, and he’s annoying.
On offense, he’s a good shooter. Not a great shooter, but a good shooter. There’s realistic room for improvement. He’s fine when he’s defended on his jumper, he’s OK off the dribble, but he’s lethal when he’s left open. I’d love to see if he can eventually be a guy who attacks closeouts, though for now, the shooting will do.
Bleacher Report has the Warriors taking Connecticut G James Bouknight at No. 7 and Gonzaga F Corey Kispert at No. 14:
Scouts have raved about James Bouknight’s pro day and shooting display. And it’s starting to seem like he’ll be one of the most enticing names outside the top five.
If he’s able to squash concerns about his three-point percentages at Connecticut, he could be a target for the Golden State Warriors, who’d value Bouknight’s skill set for creating his own shot.
The Warriors would use him as a second-unit scorer at first, but there is enough upside tied to his athleticism, handles and shot-making for Bouknight to eventually start between Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
CBS Sports has the Warriors taking Bouknight at No. 7 and LSU SG Cameron Thomas at No. 14.
Buzz has emerged in the past two weeks that Bouknight could jump into the No. 5 spot by the time draft night arrives. I’m not seeing that, but I do think his diverse and undeniable skill set of shooting and shot creation will make it almost impossible for teams to pass on him past the No. 9 spot. I like him as the seventh-best long-term prospect in this draft because he can shoot AND score (and there is a difference). And that 29.3 3-point accuracy number from last season is misleading. Watch the tape and Bouknight’s feel, form and shot-making ability is obvious. What is the NBA about in 2021? It’s about how you can score, how you can create space, create offense, do it on your own — but also with that skill, open up offensive opportunities for teammates. Bouknight battled through an injury last season (which hurt his 3-point accuracy), and yet that hasn’t dinged his stock because he’s a killer competitor.
I‘m about ready to plead for the basketball world to retire the phrase “he/she is a bucket,” but in Cam Thomas’ case it wholly applies. Thomas has been scouted and/or recruited at a mainstream level for the past four years and in that time he has always been a great scorer. Doesn’t matter the team, situation or time of game, Thomas puts it up and puts it in. He isn’t overly efficient — that’s his issue; if he was, he’d be a universal top-10 pick here — but I will bank on the scoring skill set and say that he’s going to wind up as a top-15 player in this class. The defense, or lack thereof, is utterly worrying and is going to prevent him from being picked in the lottery.
The Ringer has the Warriors taking Mitchell at No. 7 and Real Madrid F Usman Garuba at 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.
Draymond Green took James Wiseman under his wing last season, a positive showing of leadership for the franchise. But Garuba might be a better protégé for Green because he’s also a small-ball center with a relentless attitude. Though playing them together wouldn’t be feasible for the Warriors due to their lack of shooting ability, he’d be the perfect backup and, someday, a potential replacement.
USA TODAY has the Warriors taking Bouknight No. 7 and VCU G Nah’Shon Hyland at No. 14:
Golden State needs to add scoring for moments when Stephen Curry is not on the floor and James Bouknight, who dropped 40 points in a college game last season, can provide exactly that. The wing can also grow as a movement shooter coming off screens and handoffs playing alongside the likes of Klay Thompson.
No one was able to improve their draft stock more during scrimmages at the combine than Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland, who was utterly fantastic when on the floor in Chicago. COVID-19 took away his chance to show out during the NCAA tournament but now he could be someone that teams covet in the first round.
If the Warriors do keep both of their lottery picks, which mock draft do you think fits best with next year’s squad?