Golden State Warriors NBA Mock Draft 2020: Prospects to Target

Draft History

Golden State WarriorsThe Golden State Warriors were the butt of most jokes in the early 2000s. They were consistently a bottom team in the Western Conference plagued by poor management. A uniform change and a couple of successful drafts later, the Warriors took the second half of the 2010s by storm, winning three championships in four seasons. The Warriors reminded the league that the best way to win in the NBA is by drafting and investing in player development.

The Warrior’s success began in 2009 with first-round pick Steph Curry. The Warriors then proceeded to draft Klay Thompson in 2011 and Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in 2012. After years of development, all four players reached their potential, becoming critical pieces in their championship run in 2015 and finals appearance in 2016. While Harrison Barnes left, the team used free agency to acquire superstar Kevin Durant which resulted in two more championship rings. After a disappointing injury-plagued 2019, the Warriors enter 2020 as formidable as ever. They still have their core of Curry, Thompson, and Green as well as former number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins and center Kevon Looney to round out the top five. While Eric Paschall and Jordan Poole have shown promise, but the Warriors must use this draft to improve their bench unit and subsequent championship odds.

Team Breakdown

The Warriors have the ammunition heading into next season. With Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and Kevon Looney, the Warriors have a versatile starting five who fit each other’s strengths and cover each other’s weaknesses. Curry and Thompson are elite shooters while Wiggins excels at getting to the basket. Draymond Green is a playmaking forward that plays elite defense while Kevon Looney provides an offensive rebounding spark. Their starting five is one of the best in the league. The problem comes with their bench.

Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, and Marquese Chris are the team’s most proven bench players. However, all have their weaknesses and together showed an inability to carry their bench unit. I’m scared for this team’s potential given the lack of viable talent off the bench. The Warriors are cash-strapped meaning they only have enough money to sign players via the mid-level exception or veteran minimum. Their top three draft pick will be expected to lead this bench unit. This could happen but this draft isn’t as top-heavy. In other words, I don’t see any day one 20-point scorer.

Draft Range

The Warriors currently own the projected number one overall pick, but this could change given the new draft lottery. Regardless, the Warriors can pick the cream of the crop from this draft and I’m excited to see the direction they take. Personally, I would love for the team to take a perimeter player. I think this draft has loaded with high ceiling point guards and perimeter players. Furthermore, I’m less high on the centers in this class and with the Warriors succeeding in the past without an elite center, it’s not a pressing need.

With so many good players at the top of the draft, I’ll be paying attention to players that best fit the Warriors scheme and offer the possibility of being long-term pieces. They need a player that can come in day one and make a huge impact off the bench. However, they also need to start accumulating viable young pieces to prevent a complete free-fall after the core three retire. I am very excited to see the direction the Warriors go this upcoming draft.

The Warriors also have two second-round picks, slated to be between 48-55. These picks shouldn’t have too high of an expectation but could add value in specific roles – lockdown defender, sharpshooter, interior scorer, speedy playmaker, elite hustler. This draft is deep in role players so I’m sure they can find a player to fill their specific needs. However, for this analysis, I will focus on their 1st round pick given the potential that could come out of this pick.

Prospects to Target

Anthony Edwards

SG 6-5 225 Lbs. – Georgia

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Anthony Edwards is the top perimeter prospect in the draft. And it’s for good reason, he has an NBA ready body which will help him to finish in traffic and downright bully smaller guards. Also, he’s an adept ballhandler that can play off of both hands. His shooting stroke has room for improvement but is solid for an NBA prospect. He reminds me of Andrew Wiggins but with a better NBA body and more defensive upside.

The Warriors are the most team-oriented, play within a system type of organization in the league. For Edwards, the Warriors would be invaluable. Edwards would be forced to grow within a team concept and limit his role to what he is most effective at doing, scoring the ball at different levels of the court. Adding Anthony Edwards behind Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, and Green would provide the team more flexibility in small-ball lineups. Having 3 guys, Curry, Wiggins, and Edwards that can effectively create their own shot will pose a matchup nightmare for opposing teams.

Again, having Edwards start his career in a winning franchise with a team-first philosophy will sharpen Edwards’s game. His contested shot percentage and turnovers will decrease with easier opportunities and looks at the basket. He can learn in a defensive system that emphasizes rotating and off-ball movement. This is the perfect spot for Edwards to launch his career.

https://twitter.com/GAFollowers/status/1231371675234709506

Obi Toppin

PF 6-9 220 Lbs. – Dayton

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20.07.52.21.01.2.633.390.7032.2

Obi Toppin is an older prospect that burst onto the seen in 2019, leading the Dayton Flyers to top-ten college basketball status. At 6-9 230 pounds, he fits the mold of a modern-day power forward. Toppin is athletic with a quick first step and the ability to get vertical on his dunks. He finishes well at the rim and is a quality ball handler for the position that he plays. I love the energy he plays with as a lot of power forwards and centers just don’t have that type of a motor. His shooting stroke is great for his position as he showed an ability to hit from three, make pull up shots, and hit open mid-range shots.

With a scoring power forward like Toppin, you would expect him to struggle on the defensive side of the floor. However, this was not the case as his quick feet and sturdy frame helped him stay in front of his defender. He had the tendency to give up drives on the perimeter but shows great promise in this area if he works more on his balance and anticipation. What I really like about Obi and his fit for the Warriors is his intangibles. He’s a coachable, team-first player that his teammates will appreciate. The Warriors should be looking for a guy that can fit into their older, winning mentality. Obi Toppin seems like the perfect prospect.

Starting off the bench will be great for Obi as he can shine against opposing bench units. His athleticism will be too much for opposing big men and he will have an easier job covering perimeter players. I question Eric Paschall’s fit on this team if they draft Toppin, but could both players switching off the center role if needed. Overall, I think Toppin could thrive in the Warriors ball movement, off-ball system, and have plenty of opportunities to get vertical.

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Killian Hayes

PG 6-4 215 Lbs – France

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12.82.36.81.5.2.455.390.9093.3

I was thoroughly impressed with Hayes’s shooting ability. With a remarkable ninety percent free throw percentage, Hayes is a natural shooter. In addition, Hayes shot 39 percent from three. He’s shown an ability to be an elite perimeter shooter in the Eurocup which will translate to the NBA. Furthermore, his mechanics are nearly perfect. He keeps his elbows to his side, releases the ball at its highest point, and finishes with fluidity. With his passing and shooting ability, Hayes will keep coaches up at night.

Speaking of passing ability, Hayes’ vision is extraordinary and accurate. He knows where his guys should be before they get there. His passes are pinpoint accurate, catching guys right in stride. I love the touch he puts on his passes, it just seems so smooth when watching his tape. Overall, he’s a creative playmaker that will constantly destroy defenders that fall asleep and force the opposing offense to stay on their toes.

I love him going to the Warriors given the culture that they have created and the fit alongside Steph Curry. He has the chance to be apart of an offense that prides itself on ball movement and versatility, all of which play to his strengths. He can learn from Steph Curry who shines through his off-ball movement and effort fighting through screens. Hayes also has the opportunity to get meaningful playoff time for a championship-contending team, and, if Curry retires, take over the reins of this team. For the Warriors, they have the ball-handling insurance for if Steph Curry goes down. Outside of Curry, they lack the playmaking guards to run the offense. Because of this, their offense stalled whenever Curry sat. Hayes will be the perfect contributor and insurance policy.

Predictions

Overall, the Warriors are in a great position to build for the future. I love their current core’s playoff chances and if they can build their bench in the 2020 offseason, they could very much contend for a championship. Also, they are building for the future with this pick and young players Andrew Wiggins, Eric Paschall, Ky Bowman, Marquese Chriss, and Jordan Poole. I truly think this pick is the bridge between the present and the future.

I if had to choose the Warriors pick, it comes down to Killian Hayes and Anthony Edwards. Both fit the Warrior’s current roster better than Obi Toppin – the power forward position has less impact on many teams than other positions and the Warriors are set with Eric Paschall as a backup at that position. Also, while Toppin is a good ball-handler, he struggles to move off-ball and isn’t that polished when working on the perimeter, an area the Warriors need the most help.

I have Killian Hayes as the best point guard prospect. While I wouldn’t be surprised if LaMelo is the first point guard taken, I question his motor, shooting ability, defense. For Hayes, he just doesn’t have these questions. Hayes is a capable shooter that can make plays and bring the effort on defense. I think Hayes is the type of player that will truly learn from Curry – he’s very humble, coachable, and has the work ethic to be great.

Anthony Edwards is the best shooting guard/small forward prospect in the draft. Andrew Wiggins was taken number one overall in the 2014 draft, but I think Edwards is a better version of Wiggins. Both showcase elite athleticism but Edwards is a slightly better shooter that plays a more physical game. I like Edwards fit with the Warriors especially given his star potential and ability to learn a more team-oriented approach. A package of both Wiggins and Edwards on the court alongside sharpshooters Curry and Thompson would be a nightmare for any time.

In conclusion, I think the Warriors will go with Edwards. He’s a pick with a high floor and potential to have the most impact right away while also providing long-term stability to the organization. I like the direction this team is going and Edwards only solidifies this assumption.

  
Miles Jasper is an incoming law student studying employment and labor law. Miles’ passions lie within the salary cap, collective bargaining, and labor relations between leagues and their players. He also likes to analyze college prospects and participate in fantasy sports. In his free time, Miles is an avid runner who also enjoys poker, cooking, and watching movies.

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