While a lot of attention is placed upon the Warriors’ first selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, it cannot be ignored that the team has four draft selections. We’ve had a lot of fun predicting the seventh pick
, but what about selections Nos. 30, 35 and 52?
In a previous entry, we’ve detailed the best of the best of those selections
, but that hasn’t given us any clue as to who the Warriors might take with their final three picks. Of course, there’s always the possibility that the team won’t keep all, or any, of their draft picks. Warriors General Manager Bob Myers is constantly working the phones and will not hesitate to make a trade involving one or more of those draft selections should that trade benefit the team. And considering that the Warriors had three rookies on the team last season, all of whom are under contract for the 2012-13 campaign, it is well within the realm of possibilities that the team indeed makes a trade.
But assuming no trades are made and the Warriors keep their picks, we take a look at some of the options that might be available with the 30th, 35th and 52nd picks in next Thursday’s Draft. Starting at No. 30, which the Warriors acquired along with Richard Jefferson from the Spurs in exchange for Stephen Jackson, two names that many have linked to the Warriors, via the dozens of sources on our Mock Drafts page
, are Vanderbilt center Festes Ezeli and Baylor forward Quincy Miller.
Might Vanderbilt's Festus Ezeli (top left), Baylor's Quincy Miller (top right), Kentucky's Marquis Teague (bottom left) or French prospect Evan Fournier go to the Warriors with the 30th pick of the 2012 NBA Draft? (Photos: Getty Images)
Ezeli, who worked out with the Warriors earlier this month and was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle
, has a fascinating story. He didn’t play high school basketball in the U.S. and his only taste of organized basketball prior to Vanderbilt came on the AAU circuit in Sacramento. However, he showed tremendous improvement over his five-year career at Vanderbilt and he has NBA-ready size (6-foot-11, 265 pounds), rebounding and shot-blocking ability. He’s drawn comparisons to Kendrick Perkins and while his offensive game needs to improve, his size, mobility and work ethic would make him a great prospect for the Warriors.
Unlike Ezeli, Quincy Miller entered college as one of the most highly touted prospects in his prep class. He played just one season at Baylor and was the Big 12’s co-freshman of the year after averaging 10.6 points and 4.9 rebound per game. Miller has a unique set of size and athleticism. He measured 6-foot-10 and 219 pounds at the NBA Draft Combine, and his 7-foot-1 wingspan definitely catches the eye of any scout in the league. If not for an ACL injury suffered during his senior year of high school, Miller would likely be placed much higher on NBA draft boards. If he’s still around at 30, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Warriors take a flyer on him.
The further you go in the draft, the more difficult it becomes to predict. Many of the names predicted for the Warriors at No. 30 could still be available at No. 35. Players like Evan Fournier (guard, France), Hollis Thompson (forward, Georgetown), Jae Crowder (forward, Marquette), Scott Machado (guard, Iona), Doron Lamb (guard, Kentucky) and Tyshawn Taylor (guard, Kansas) can all be in play for the Warriors, as well as prospects such as Drew Gordon
and Kevin Jones
. Many mock drafts have them going to the Warriors, whether it is in the first or the second rounds.
Most executives stick to the strategy of drafting the best available player, regardless of position, but later in the draft it’s more commonplace to make a selection based on team needs. The Warriors have ranked near the bottom in the NBA in several defensive and rebounding statistics in recent seasons, so those would be natural issues to address in the draft. That’s where Gordon and Jones could come into play. Both players ranked among the NCAA’s leaders in rebounding last season, and both have had the opportunity to participate in pre-draft workouts with the Warriors
Take a look at some interviews with prospects that could potentially go to the Warriors with one of their final three selections.
Click thumbnails to view videos
Gordon, a San Jose native who began his collegiate career at UCLA before transferring to New Mexico State, has NBA size already. At 6-foot-9 and 245 pounds, the 2012 Mountain West Conference Tournament MVP has the strength to handle the physical style of play at the professional level. His offensive game can be improved, but most experts think his rebounding and defensive ability (11.1 rpg, 1.0 bpg) should translate to the NBA.
Like Gordon, Jones has toughness and plays with a high motor. His 7-foot-2 wingspan helped him become one of the nation’s best offensive rebounders and he can play either forward position. Jones showed constant improvement at West Virginia, and he completed his collegiate career as an All-American. A hard worker who’s not afraid to do the dirty work, Jones would certainly fit well with Head Coach Mark Jackson’s vision of a tough, hard-nosed basketball team.
Another option to consider is the draft-and-stash possibility. This occurs when a team drafts an international prospect who doesn’t intend to come to the NBA just yet. Should the Warriors select a player who continues to play abroad, the team would still retain the rights to that prospect and he would not count against the 15 players the Warriors are allowed to have on their roster. Should Golden State not pull off a trade, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Warriors draft-and-stash
with any of their final three selections, considering there is already plenty of young talent on the team.
It should be interesting to see what direction the Warriors go with their draft selections next week, and if you have an idea, don’t hesitate to share it with us on Twitter