(Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

Looking Back: Warriors' Vets Pre-Draft Scouting Reports

Long before they became NBA Champions, each member of the Warriors’ veteran core was a draft prospect with talent evaluators predicting how their game would translate to the next level.

How did those predictions pan out? Let’s go back and see if the nbadraft.net scouting reports got it right for the Warriors’ veteran core.

Stephen Curry was drafted seventh overall by the Warriors in the 2009 Draft and prospect evaluator Stevan Petrovic had Curry ranked as the seventh-best prospect in the class. Petrovic recognized Curry's ability to "put a lot of pressure on a defense with his scoring ability." In the NBA, Curry has won two scoring titles, averaging 30.1 points in his unanimous MVP 2015-16 season and a career-high 32.0 points while finishing third in MVP voting during the 2020-21 season.

Petrovic described Curry as a fearless offensive weapon and remarkable shooter who puts tremendous pressure on a defense.

"He looks fearless on the floor and plays under control. Can get any shot he wants and has great shot efficiency. Teams are completely focusing on him defensively, rotating different players at him, so he’s always under pressure and still finds a way to hit difficult shots every game. He moves well without the ball, has great footwork when coming off screens and is always ready to shoot." Petrovic said.

Stephen Curry Shined at the 2009 NBA Draft Combine

Curry has led the NBA in made 3-pointers in seven seasons and is the All-time leader with 3,390 threes. He has popularized the long-distance splash, often hitting shots several feet behind the 3-point line and around the midcourt logo. Curry has received some staunch defensive attention, including double teams starting at halfcourt, full-court presses and even box-and-1 coverage (implemented to deny a star player the ball as much as possible).

Petrovic was concerned about Curry's ability to finish around the basket "due to his size and physical attributes." However, this past season, Curry was the league's second most efficient finishing guard (minimum 150 attempts), shooting 72.8 percent at the basket.

Petrovic said that Curry was "not a natural point guard that an NBA team can rely on to run a team." While he may not be the "traditional" pass-first point guard, Curry revolutionized the position, allowing the lead guard to have a scoring mindset but also facilitate for others and run the show. Since he came into the NBA, Curry is the only point guard to be the top scorer on a Championship team, and he’s the first point guard to achieve such since Isiah Thomas with the Pistons in 1988-89 and 1989-90.

Petrovic's pre-draft player comparison for Curry was Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. Abdul-Rauf played nine NBA seasons from 1990-91 through 2000-01, with a two-year gap between 1998-99 and 1999-2000. Abdul-Rauf averaged 14.6 points and 3.5 assists, which would be career lows for Curry. Abdul-Rauf was named to an All-Rookie team in 1990-91 and the NBA's Most Improved Player in 1992-93.

NBA comparison: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf
2009 NBADraft.net Scouting Report by: Stevan Petrovic

Prospect evaluator Aaron Smith recognized Klay Thompson as "one of the top pure shooters on the college level." Thompson was the 11th pick of the 2011 Draft from Washington State University. In the NBA, Thompson has established himself as one of the top pure shooters ever. Thompson led the NBA in made 3-pointers this past season (301), becoming one of three players in NBA history to eclipse 300 made threes in a season (joining Stephen Curry and James Harden). The Splash Brother ranks 11th on the NBA's All-time made 3-pointers list (2,213 3PM). Smith also described the intricacies that make Thompson such an effective shooter/scorer.

"He's a very good spot-up shooter who understands how to create shots for himself off the ball coming off screens. He has perfect form on his shot and deep range, squares to the basket and a quick, concise, fluid stroke with a high release. He effectively uses pump fakes to draw defenders off balance and gets his shot off quickly, without needing much space." Smith said.

Klay Thompson at the 2011 NBA Draft Combine

Regarding weaknesses, Smith said Thompson's "lack of elite athleticism gets exposed in the transition game." However, Thompson has been a very effective transition player for the Warriors, spacing out the floor and launching demoralizing transition jumpers. Smith also said he "lacks great foot speed, which inhibits his ability to take the ball off the dribble against quick defenders." While Thompson hasn't relied on his handles much, he has still showcased an ability to create his own shot off the dribble and use his size to shoot over the top of the defense.

Smith's pre-draft player comparison for Thompson was Marco Belinelli. Belinelli was a sharpshooter drafted by the Warriors 18th overall in 2007. Belinelli had four seasons in which he shot over 39 percent from three, including both seasons he played for the Dubs. Belinelli played 13 seasons in the NBA and won a Championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Belinelli averaged 9.7 points for his career, lower than Thompson has averaged in any season.

NBA comparison: Marco Belinelli
2011 NBADraft.net Scouting Report by:
Aaron Smith

Draymond Green's pre-draft description as the ultimate "Glue Guy" couldn't be a more accurate description of how his NBA career has played out. "Green’s strongest asset is his ability to contribute across the board," prospect evaluator Jonathan Wasserman said.

"He's an unselfish and timely passer. His vision and ability to facilitate out of the post make it difficult for off-ball defenders to keep their eyes on their man and the ball simultaneously. He's a terrific rebounder thanks to the combination of an aggressive motor and soft hands." Wasserman said.

Wasserman described many intangibles that Green brings to the table.

"Overachiever. High basketball IQ. Makes those around him better, possesses a sense of maturity and leadership qualities," Wasserman said.

Draymond Green Named to 2022-23 NBA All-Defensive Second Team

By Wasserman's standards, Green significantly overachieved.

Wasserman said that Green as a college prospect "doesn’t excel in any one particular area." However, Green won Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 and established himself as one of the greatest team defenders of this era. Green is also one of the best rebounders for his size and playmakers at his position. Wasserman described Green as a "Tweener" undersized for a physical forward and lacking the athleticism of a wing. In some ways, Green revolutionized the power forward position allowing "undersized" players with versatile skillsets to play a "big man" role. Described by Wasserman as a "low-risk/low-reward pick considering his role-player potential and ability to fit in", Green became a four-time All-Star and four-time Champion and a big-time reward for the Warriors.

Wasserman gave Green two pre-draft player comparisons, Luke Harangody and Jared Dudley. Harangody played just four seasons in the NBA and was the 52nd pick of the 2010 Draft. Jared Dudley was a first-round pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and was primarily a spot-up shooter, shooting 39.3 percent from behind the arc for his career. Dudley won an NBA Championship in 2020 with the Los Angeles Lakers. Green averages more points, rebounds and assists than both Harangody and Dudley for his career and made eight All-Defensive teams compared to a combined zero for Harangody and Dudley.

NBA comparisons: Luke Harangody/Jared Dudley
2012 NBADraft.net Scouting Report by:
Jonathan Wasserman

Andrew Wiggins was the top-ranked prospect in his 2014 Draft class. Draft evaluator Michael Visenburg was blown away by Wiggins' "off-the-charts run/jump athleticism." Visenburg envisioned Wiggins using his physical tools to be a versatile contributor on both ends of the court.

"His lateral quickness and length give him great potential as a perimeter defender, along with versatility to guard both wing positions," Visenburg said. "He's incredibly dangerous in transition opportunities, long strider with a quick first step, did a great job of scoring or getting fouled when getting out in transition. As an offensive rebounder, he can keep possessions alive that very few others can due to his second jump and tremendous leaping ability."

Wiggins' two-way game reached another level after coming to the Bay. He was the primary wing defensive stopper for the Dubs in their 2022 Championship season, including his excellent defense on Jayson Tatum in that Finals series. Before entering the league, Visenburg was worried about Wiggins's "defensive awareness" and "not relying completely on length or athleticism to challenge a player." Wiggins ultimately bought into the Warriors' defensive system and improved both as an individual and team defender.

Andrew Wiggins' Most Clutch Plays From 2022 NBA Finals

Another critique Visenburg had of Wiggins' game was "needing to move without the ball and having a reputation of sometimes standing/ball watching." Since coming to the Warriors, he has thrived both as a cutter and floor-spacer within the system. He has been engaged and feeding off of the Dubs' ball/player movement.

Visenburn's pre-draft comparisons for Wiggins were Vince Carter and Rudy Gay. The Warriors drafted Vince Carter with the fifth pick of the 1998 Draft before he was traded to the Toronto Raptors. Carter was named to eight All-Star teams, made two All-NBA teams and won the 2000 Slam Dunk contest in legendary fashion. Both Carter and Wiggins won the Rookie of the Year award. While Carter and Wiggins both were extremely gifted athletically, Wiggins' mid-range and perimeter game more closely resembles that of Rudy Gay. Gay, the eighth pick of the 2006 NBA Draft, has played 17 seasons and averaged 15.8 points. Wiggins (19.1 PPG) has averaged more points than both Carter (16.7 PPG) and Gay (15.8 PPG) for his career and is the only player of the group to win an NBA Championship.

NBA comparisons: Vince Carter/Rudy Gay
2014 NBADraft.net Scouting Report by:  
Michael Visenburg

Kevon Looney's pre-draft evaluation is fascinating to look back on because he had a very different playstyle/position heading into the NBA. Looney was a point guard in high school who transitioned to a wing and power forward in college. Draft evaluator Michael Visenberg described Looney as "showing potential to be efficient in the pick-and-roll, as well as the pick-and-pop" and having a "high release on his shot, with potential to stretch his range." Looney was drafted with the 30th pick of the 2015 NBA Draft and among the biggest non-lottery pick draft steals in Warriors' history.

In the NBA, Looney has mostly played the center position and a series of hip injuries have shifted his style of play to be closer to the basket. However, his rebounding ability has certainly transferred to the NBA.

"He has great instincts and aggressiveness as a rebounder, attacks the ball high and is dangerous on the offensive glass," Visenberg said.

Kevon Looney's Top Dunks from the 2022-2023 Season

Looney led the league in offensive rebounds this season (274) and had three playoff games with 20-plus rebounds.

Visenberg was encouraged by Looney's activity on defense but noted that he was "not incredibly quick laterally and had a hard time guarding perimeter player once they commit to the dribble." As a center, it's natural to struggle with some quicker guards but Looney has improved and become a switchable big and good positional defender.

Visenberg's pre-draft comparison for Looney was Al-Farouq Aminu. Aminu was the eighth pick of the 2010 NBA Draft and split his time between the power forward and small forward positions. Aminu played 11 seasons and averaged slightly more rebounds than Looney (6.0 vs. 5.6) but Looney's career-high 9.3 rebounds per game this past season tops any of Aminu's best rebounding years.

NBA comparison: Al-Farouq Aminu
2015 NBADraft.net Scouting Report by:
Michael Visenburg

Prospect evaluator David Green described Jordan Poole as a versatile but undersized shooting guard who could play either guard spot if needed. Green highlighted Poole's ability to "flat out shoot the long ball," acknowledging his ability to "spot up or shoot off the dribble comfortably."

"He's a strong ball handler who can create for himself and others, an exceptional passer at the two spot, can finish with either hand and is not afraid of taking the big shot," Green said.

Poole has been a combo guard in the NBA, capable of playing both guard positions and showcasing his versatility as an offensive weapon. Poole led the Warriors in total points scored this past season (1,675) and finished ninth in the league in made 3-pointers (214).

Jordan Poole Layups are Crafty | 2022-23 Season

Green noted that Poole "could improve on playmaking ability," and he has, serving as the starting point guard in all 26 games that Stephen Curry missed this past season.

Green compared Poole to Wayne Ellington, who, like Poole, was drafted with the 28th pick of his Draft class (2009). Ellington was a sharpshooter, shooting 38.2 percent from three for his career but did most of his work as a catch-and-shoot specialist, while Poole is more of an on-ball creator. Ellington peaked as an 11.2 point-per-game scorer, while Poole averaged 20.4 points this past season.

NBA comparison: Wayne Ellington
2019 NBADraft.net Scouting Report by:
David Green

The Warriors have had numerous players who significantly outperformed their draft position and predraft evaluations. Looking back on nbadraft.net's predraft analysis of these Warriors' vets, many elements of their playstyles and what they bring to the table were captured, but the heights they reached in many cases far exceeded expectations. Keep that in mind when watching the 2023 NBA Draft (June 22, 5 p.m., ABC/ESPN) as we follow the journey of young players carving out their NBA futures.