Golden State fans can breathe a sigh of relief. The Warriors landed the No. 7 pick in Wednesday’s NBA draft lottery, which means they’ll get to keep their first-round draft pick this season.
Golden State hasn’t moved up in the lottery since 1995, when they won the top pick and selected Joe Smith. But the Warriors were just happy they didn’t fall back. If the Warriors had dropped below No. 7, the pick would have gone to the Utah Jazz based on a previous trade.
Golden State finished the season tied with Toronto for the seventh-worst record in the NBA. But the Warriors won a tie-breaker performed by the league that slotted them No. 7 and the Nets No. 8.
Keeping the pick is a big boost for Golden State’s offseason plans. The Warriors will have a crack at some of the better prospects in the draft — such as North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Baylor’s Perry Jones. Perhaps more important, the Warriors now have four picks including a lottery pick. That makes pulling off a trade for a difference-maker much more possible.