The rumors are flying, the speculation is rampant. You can definitely tell the draft is tomorrow. The Warriors, like most everyone else in this draft, still don’t know what they’re going to do. They are talking to everyone. And tThey probably know what they want, but there are too many balls in the air for them to know what they’re going to do. Which is probably why nothing will happen until the first five or six picks are determined. Golden State really can’t afford to make a move out of No. 7 now, then have MKG or Harrison Barnes fall to where they were.
With that said, here is what the scuttle winds have blown my way.
* If Connecticut center Andre Drummond falls to the Warriors at seven, expect the Warriors to call Houston and try to get out of the No. 7 pick. Houston wants Drummond as their center project. The Warriors don’t really want Drummond, but there are a couple of guys Golden State would want at picks 14 and 16, or even 18 (Houston owns all three of those picks).
* Warriors have also talked with Milwaukee Bucks about moving down to the 12th slot. The Bucks are looking to move up to secure one of the big men they like (John Henson, Tyler Zeller). If Thursday, Milwaukee believes Henson and Zeller will be gone (leaving them stuck with less-ready Meyers Leonard or Jared Sullinger and his back concerns), Bucks GM John Hammond may take the bait. Golden State could get Luc Mbah a Moute. (Correction: GSW can’t get Ekpe Udoh back because new CBA rules prohibit him from being traded back to the Warriors by Milwaukee for a year) I’ve got to think Mark Jackson would prefer Ekpe Udoh. He had Ekpe playing his best ball before the Warriors (reluctantly) traded him to Milwaukee.
* I’m hearing the Warriors do like Wilson Chandler but don’t believe he is worth the No. 7 pick so that deal is unlikely to happen. The Nuggets would have to take back Andris Biedrins or Richard Jefferson to make it worthwhile for the Warriors. However, if the Warriors trade down a bit, maybe to 12 or 14, that Chandler deal may be in play. That could be a high enough jump for Denver (#20) and the Warriors could still get someone they like at No. 20 – whether Terrence Jones, Quincy Miller, Moe Harkless or even Festus Ezeli
* Dion Waiters is no doubt high on the Warriors’ list. The way his stock has risen, Waiters likely won’t fall outside the top 10. But another shooting guard-who-can-play-some-point type of player is rising, too. His name is Austin Rivers. The Warriors may have a tough choice to make at No. 7 between Waiters and Rivers. They like Waiters, who is generally viewed as the better player. But Rivers may have more name appeal, and more PG skills, and perhaps more value.
*If Drummond is on the board, there is a temptation for the Warriors to take him though the basketball minds in the Warriors’ front office don’t want to take him. The Warriors’ perennial need for size and asset-accumulation plans may lead them to consider Drummond more than they otherwise would. Few players might have the trade value Drummond will have come February – especially if he does ANYTHING good during the season. If the Warriors are trying to make a play for Andre Iguodala, they have a much better chance if they have a nice young big man to offer. Of course, that is a risky play because they could pick Drummond and he could be terrible and now they just smoked away the No. 7 pick. But perhaps worse than that is if the Warriors pass on him, he turns out to be really good, and Joe Lacob is pissed because he said when in doubt go with the size and athleticism.
There is something to be said for the Warriors having an optimum situation for Drummond. They don’t need him now. They like to say they are good at developing talent, so they should be able to develop his skills. Mark Jackson is this reputed motivator, so if anybody can get Drummond to play hard it should be Jackson. Can the Warriors afford to spend the No. 7 pick on a project? Not really. But doing so would only require the front office to get what they need elsewhere in the draft and through free agency and trades – and that’s probably going to have to happen anyway since drafting Waiters will give them little more than a back-up guard heading into the season.
* The most untouchable Warrior right now is Klay Thompson. Apparently he is in high demand, which is only convincing the Warriors he is someone they need to hold on to. Believe it or not, point guard Stephen Curry also still has some trade value. The Warriors aren’t biting, but Curry seems to still have some pull despite ankle issues.