The Warriors would love nothing more than to trade up in the draft and lock up one of these elite talents. Problem is, nobody wants to trade down to No. 6 in a five-player draft. And if they do, they want the No. 6 and the Warriors’ right arm (namely Stephen Curry or Anthony Randolph), which is too much to give up for a prospect.
So, the Warriors can’t move up to get the guy in this draft who I think is the best fit: Evan Turner, who is the versatile and skilled small forward (or shooting guard) who has the size and playmaking ability they need to round out their perimeter. Nor will they be able to get the beast they need inside in Derrick Favors, who is a rebounding machine and would instantly become the biggest physical presence on the Warriors frontline. Nor can they get the guy they want in Wesley Johnson, who would give them a legit SF (not a SG playing out of position) who significantly raises the athleticism on the wing.
So, they wait, and hope. For Cousins, who just might have the biggest immediate impact in the draft.
I don’t think the Warriors options at No. 6 impressive. After the top five — Wall, Turner, Cousins, Favors and Johnson — are a bunch of pretty good prospects who are long shots for being special and will need particular situations and fortune to be really good. Given the state of the Warriors’ franchise, they need difference makers, not role players. They need ballers, not specialized players. (To be sure, I’m not completely sold on Johnson)
To a man, I don’t think the Warriors are excited about anyone outside the top 5, either. How do the Warriors’ feel about Greg Monroe? He’s 6-11, 247-pounds and all they can talk about is his passing. That’s like lauding a point guard for his rebounding. The Warriors already have Ronny Turiaf. Why would a big man who can pass and knock down the elbow jumper get their blood pumping? Monroe can do more than that, assuredly, and he has the tools to develop into more. But he’s going to have to get in line, behind the 80 other young guys they’re already developing.
Who else is there: Aminu from Wake Forest? Udoh from Baylor? Davis from North Carolina? They’ll all ride the bench behind Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright, and maybe lose minutes to Anthony Tolliver.
The only hope in this draft is if one of the top five falls to the Warriors. Otherwise, the Warriors will be bringing sand to the beach, and relying on a free agent/trade market to produce the talent upgrade they desperately need. Relying on a trade during a looming ownership change is hardly ideal.
Getting a difference maker in the draft would not only give the Warriors a much-needed talent upgrade, but it singles out who they can shop as trade bait. If they get a big man, they can afford to give up Biedrins or Turiaf. If they get a difference-maker at PF, moving Randolph becomes a much easier pill to swallow. But if the guy they get isn’t better than anybody they currently have, they haven’t done much to get better.
It doesn’t look good for the Warriors’ getting fortunate, either. Most of the scenarios play out so that the Warriors are left praying Sacramento does them a favor.
Any scenario that sees Favors and Cousins go in the top four, and it’s sand at the beach for the Warriors. Those two in the top four means Sacramento has a chance at either Turner or Johnson. The Kings need a SF badly, especially with Nocioni gone. No way either of those two get by Sacramento.
After Wall, Turner has been the expected No. 2. If that happens, Sacramento – which needs a SF – will likely miss out on both of the two elite SFs (Turner and Johnson) in this draft. That leaves them with two choices: take one of the big men available, or do something crazy like reach down to fill their need. With Dalembert and Jason Thompson in tow, the Kings don’t need a big man, it still figures they’d take the best available player. I seriously doubt Aminu jumps that high, which leaves the choice between Cousins and Monroe.
And that is the Warriors’ best hope, that Sac wants Monroe.