Sunday, June 3, 2012

Warriors' Six Most Sensible Draft Targets

Unless the Warriors plan to move their top pick for a proven, young small forward yields fruitful, they're most likely going to be selecting a player at pick 7 at the upcoming NBA Draft in a few weeks. Here are the six most likely targets for the Warriors in terms of need and potential.

#1 Harrison Barnes, SF, UNC: Barnes is a special talent who can score from any spot on the floor. He can go to the hole and he's got an exceptional jumper. He can also hold his own on defense. Before the NCAA Tourney in March, he was a consensus top-3 for sure, but he had a sub-par tourney and it may hurt his draft stock. Still, it's likely wishful thinking that he'll fall all the way to 7, though a few draft guru sites having him doing just that. My guess is that he goes top-5 but if he does last till 7, the Warriors would be hard-pressed to pass on him. He's got the experience and skills to make the immediate impact in the NBA, and would be a sure-fire upgrade at small forward over Dorrell Wright and Richard Jefferson. He's the prototypical small forward and has a nice ceiling. He's the guy I'm pining my hopes on and would be ecstatic if the W's retrieved him.

Kentucky's MKG
#2 Michael Kidd-Gillchrist, SF, Kentucky: Now this is obviously the guy the Warriors would like to have if given their choice of players in this draft class (outside of Anthony Davis). The Warriors have shored up their center and power forward spot with two top offensive talents, but they need a defensive hog on that front line, and there's only one defender better than MKG in this draft and that's his teammate and 7-footer, Anthony Davis. As intriguing as it would be to acquire Davis, that's just not in the cards for Golden State seeing how he's basically guaranteed to be New Orleans top selection, and if you judge the way most mock-drafters are going, MKG will be going right behind him. The only way the Warriors could get the defensive mastermind is if they trade their 7th and 30th picks in round one this year, which will be a pretty price to pay judging on how deep this draft class is.  Gillchrist is younger and isn't as polished as Barnes, but most believe he'll have a little more upside at the NBA level.

#3 Terrance Jones, SF, Kentucky: Jones is someone I could definitely see the Warriors rolling the dice on. He too had his draft stock hurt by a sub-par tournament, but he's put up steady numbers at Kentucky, can play both the 3 and 4 positions and is not only a good scorer, but a great rebounder and tough defender. He's 6'9" and 250 pounds, but can move down the court well and should be able to match-up against smaller, quicker 3's. He's polished and ready to start, but also doesn't possess the natural gifted talent that Barnes and Gillchrist each display. Still, if I had to guess out of these six guys I'm naming, Jones then maybe Ross would be the guys to get my bet. Jones has size, can score and defend and the Warriors will always have a need for that type of player.

#4 Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn: Lamb is one of the better scorers to come out in this years bunch, and his game is a mixture of both Klay Thompson and Monta Ellis'. He can shoot the rock, but he's also adept at getting by defenders and dishing the ball off to the open shooter. Most draft publications actually have Lamb going to Golden State at 7, but unless the Warriors have other plans for Thompson, I'm not sure I see it working that way. Thompson is taller at 6'7", and the Warriors could bulk him up in attempt to move him up to the 3 spot, but after his success in 2012, that may not be the best idea. However, the Warriors have acquired their front-court talent, and they have some post presence now, so adding another perimeter player with a strong skill-set may make some sense. Another thing to like about Lamb is that some of his best games last season came against the nations toughest teams.

#5 Perry Jones III, SF/PF, Baylor: The 6'11' 220 pound Jones is a bit of a tweener, as he's got the height of a center, weight of a small forward and game style of a power forward. In every sense of the word, the man is a tweener, but he's probably the biggest upside tweener in the 2012 draft. The kid brings an enormous amount of talent and potential to the table and has some very unique attributes. He could end up being the next Kevin Garnett, or he could end up being stuck in between the 3 and 4 spot, never finding his niche. He's the biggest risk/reward selection expected to go in the lottery, and the Warriors are apparently big fans of his. He's got length and can defend 3's and 4's plus he's a hawk out there on the glass, but he's still got to refine his offensive game and and develop his jumper.

T. Ross A Wild Card for 7?
#6 Terrence Ross, SF, Washington: Last but not least is the tremendously impressive Pac-12 sophomore out of UW. Ross isn't quite as big as the Warriors would want in a small forward at 6'7" and 200 pounds (identical size to Thompson), but he's got a frame that will fill out and should be just fine against most small forwards in the league. He's a steady defender, a heckuva shooter and a really smart player who can move without the ball and find the open guy. He almost reminds me a bit of Paul Pierce. Most have him projected to go towards the middle of round one, but if the Warriors like a player, they've shown no ill-will at grabbing him higher than projected. After averaging 27 points, 7 boards and 1.5 steals in the NIT tourney in March though, it may have knocked him into the top-10.

There are other guys the Warriors could look to, depending on what they feel their need is and whether or not they may be able to work out some way to sign Nick Batum away from Portland, but it seems like their top priority right now is finding a new small forward. It's why ever single player I mentioned here is or at least would help the W's fill that void. They could also look into talented big men Andre Drummond  or Jared Sullinger to give them depth up front, but I think they like what they saw out of Jeremy Tyler in April. Another guy to keep an eye on is talented Baylor freshman, Qunicy Miller... We'll a post looking into possible options at pick 30 coming up next!

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