The Warriors will have a decision to make when it comes to the 2020 NBA Draft, and the choice won’t just be about which top prospect to add to a roster that’s built to win now.
Yes, the Warriors have a 14 percent chance to take home the top pick in the draft by owning the NBA’s worst record during their pause year. But the 2020 NBA Draft is a weak draft without a truly transcendent talent at the top. Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and LaMelo Ball are talented players who each come with question marks.
The Warriors are looking to maximize what is left of their title window, and developing the future of the franchise doesn’t often mesh well with title-chasing. There will be a lot of value in that draft pick and the Warriors could opt to trade the pick in order to add an immediate difference-maker to a roster that is built to contend.
“I honestly think having someone with experience come in and join the team would make the most sense,” NBC Sports Bay Area’s Kelenna Azubuike said on the Warriors roundtable. “Like we’ve talked about, the win-now mentality. The window won’t last forever. I honestly at this point would be surprised if — depending on what happens with the lottery — if they just took whoever they could at that point and didn’t trade down or didn’t package it with something else, some other asset to get a veteran in there.
“Again this is not the best draft when it comes to talent and high-impact guys that are going to come in and change your franchise,” Azubuike continued. “As is right now, it makes more sense to me and I think the Warriors are probably thinking that to get a little more creative … Maybe you trade down or maybe you package that and get someone else is who is a veteran guy. There are a lot of kind of disgruntled guys around the league — talking about Ben Simmons, Bradley Beal, people have talked about Giannis, maybe that’s a pipe dream, who knows? But if there is anyone who can get creative and put stuff together it is Bob Myers.”
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The Warriors find themselves in the unique position of being in the lottery but also having a roster than is primed to contend when all the pieces are healthy. They should enter the 2020-21 season with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins all fully healthy and ready to go. That’s a top-four that can rival any team in the NBA. While adding a talent like Edwards or Wiseman would benefit the Warriors’ future, their title chances would be better improved if they were able to package that top pick in a deal for a proven veteran player.
With the $17.2 million trade exception not expiring until October, the Warriors can package the exception with their first-round pick or a pick swap to add a more proven veteran presence. The Warriors would be unable to acquire any player who makes more than $17.2 million, so players like Simmons or Beal would not be apart of any potential deal that includes the exception.
But there are a number of veteran players who the Warriors could add by packaging a pick or a pick swap with the exception, including Domantas Sabonis, Marcus Smart and Jonathan Isaac. If the Warriors wanted to add a bigger name like Beal, Simmons or Joel Embiid (depending on how the 76ers’ season ends) they would likely have to trade Wiggins to make the cap numbers work.
While adding a superstar likely isn’t in the cards for the Warriors, acquiring a veteran player like Ricky Rubio, J.J. Redick or Smart would help the Warriors in their quest to get the most out of the remaining years of their championship core. Finding a way to add a young player like Sabonis or Isaac would give the Warriors both a young building block and someone who can come in and contribute immediately to a title-contending team.
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Trading a top draft pick might seem like a risky strategy, but keep in mind the Warriors’ also own the rights to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ lightly protected 2021 first-round pick, so they will have another opportunity to add a young, impact piece next year. Also if the Warriors add a pick swap to the trade exception they still could select a player later in the first round who they might be just as high on as one near the top of the board.
The Warriors are focused on winning now, while Curry, Thompson and Green still are in their primes. The best way to do that is to surround them with veteran players who can make an impact right away.
There’s no doubt that draft Edwards, Wiseman, Ball or Tyrese Haliburton would be better in the long run than acquiring Redick, Rubio, Smart or any number of veterans. But the development of rookie often is pushed aside on contending teams — think Patrick McCaw and Jordan Bell — and their potential never is realized. The Warriors can’t be wearing a win-now hat and a build for the future hat.
If they truly want to restart their dynasty next season, they need to get Curry, Thompson, Green and Wiggins another veteran piece who has been through the NBA grind and be a valuable piece come playoff time.
Why Warriors trading first-round draft pick is best to restart dynasty originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
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