news 5 days ago

NBA trade rumors: Why Warriors could end up moving top 2020 NBA Draft pick

Sporting News — (Jordan Greer)

The NBA Draft lottery? Postponed. The NBA Draft combine? Postponed. And with commissioner Adam Silver pursuing every realistic path to resume the current season, the 2020 NBA Draft itself also could be pushed back from its original date of June 25.

Regardless of when the event actually occurs, lottery-bound teams won't stop scouting this year's prospects. The Warriors will be firmly in that group heading into the draft — if they keep their pick.

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When play was suspended on March 11 after Jazz center Rudy Gobert's positive test for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Warriors sat alone at the bottom of the league standings with a 15-50 record, four games back of the Cavaliers (19-46) in the loss column. The lottery odds could change if the NBA keeps regular-season games on the schedule rather than jumping straight into the playoffs, but for now Golden State holds the best odds for the No. 1 overall pick. It shouldn't fall out of the top five.

That positioning gives the Warriors options, including the possibility of trading the pick for a win-now player.

"Yeah, we're going to consider all that," Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole. "Now, I don't know if the headline is going to be that we're trading our pick. So, be clear that I said 'consider.'"

Everything is fluid here. No one knows exactly when (or whether) teams will return to a court, or how an adjusted calendar will affect the NBA Draft. The Warriors haven't even formed a draft board yet, according to The Athletic's Anthony Slater. So, yes, this should all be placed under the "consider" umbrella. 

With that said, moving the first-round pick makes a lot of sense for the Warriors.

The 2020 class doesn't have a can't-miss prospect like Zion Williamson or Rookie of the Year front-runner Ja Morant. Georgia's Anthony Edwards has landed near the top of several mock drafts, but his season wasn't overwhelming enough to push himself into a separate tier above James Wiseman or LaMelo Ball. Maybe one of those guys can excite evaluators during workouts and interviews, though it seems unlikely that any of the available prospects could immediately propel the Warriors back into contention.

Golden State knows Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are coming back 100 percent healthy next season alongside Draymond Green. The Warriors will find out whether Andrew Wiggins can translate his potential into meaningful contributions. Steve Kerr isn't leaving the bench anytime soon. This is not your typical basement dweller, which presents a different kind of challenge for Myers.

"It's rare to have a team that might be able to contend and also have a top-five pick," Myers told Poole. "That's where you could fall into taking the best player available. You don't want to pass on a guy that you feel can usher in the next 10 years of the franchise."

As free agency has shown us, the Warriors are always looking to add pieces and keep the championship window open. They could reach a consensus on Edwards, Wiseman, Ball or someone else. But by the time draft night rolls around, Myers may prefer a known talent, one that blends nicely with the team's core.

Don't be surprised if he makes a big splash.