It probably doesn’t matter to the Warriors because No. 6 is too high for a sleeper, but there are some guys in this draft who haven’t gotten much attention but would be good on the Warriors. Some of these guys are good bets to wind up as stars, and we’ll all look back and wonder why they weren’t taken higher.
To be sure, it is not out of the realm of possibility that the Warriors could get one of these guys. Trading down might become a more attractive option on draft day. Golden State may be looking into already and just keeping it under wraps. They don’t want more young guys, but they could get a another first-round pick and keep No. 6 if they wanted to cash in some of their depth. At least Indiana and Miami are looking to trade out of the draft.
If there Warriors did go that route, here are some guys I think will be good and a good fit for the Warriors (Ekpe Udoh from Baylor had been my sleeper, but he doesn’t qualify anymore):
SF Paul George, Fresno State
Not even sure if he can be a sleeper anymore. He has blown up, thanks largely to a video clip of his workout in which he was abusing people. One thing the Warriors have needed for a while is someone other than the point guard who can create a shot from anywhere on the floor against good defense. SJax was the closest they had, but he was defendable (as evidenced by the high turnovers). The Warriors need a guy who can make it happen on his own, for others, in a half-court setting and in transition. I think George can do that. If the Warriors aren’t going to play D, the least they can do is be deadly on offense. Hard to do that with a bunch of guys who need help to score. All George needs is the rock.
SG/SF Xavier Henry, Kansas
The Warriors have nobody who is good enough on defense to stop a hot man or guard a big-time scorer like D-Wade well enough to not need to bring the whole kitchen sink. The trick is, in the Warriors’ offense-based system, he also has to be able to score – knock down an open 3 or produce in transition or get to the basket. Henry has the size, atheltic ability and desire to be that guy on defense, and the skills to still produce on offense. He can knock down the three, and maybe more. And he can do that right away.
PF Patrick Patterson, Kentucky
If you can’t go out and get Paul Milsap or Brandon Bass, this guy is the next best thing. He’s undersized, and not as polished on offense. But he’s going to get rebounds. He’s going to guard opposing big men. He’s going to provide some beef to whatever frontline he’s on. Warriors fans have longed for a player like that since Carlos Boozer abused Golden State in the 2007 playoffs, back when Matt Barnes was the low-post defender.
Patterson is small, listed at 6-8, but he can finish strong and the scouting report says he has nice touch and good hands. Watching Kentucky play, I noticed how he never tried to “go for his.” He did what he was supposed to do, defend and rebound and finish. He just seemed coachable. That usually equates to development.
PG Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky
I know, I know. The Warriors don’t need a PG. And with Curry and Ellis, the definitely don’t need a 6-1 PG. But I like this guy. With C.J. Watson is on his way out, I’d much rather Bledsoe backing up Curry than Charlie Bell. With Bledsoe, you won’t have to worry about energy. He can defend and get to the basket, and he would be a great type of player for Curry to practice against because he is strong and quick.