Once the Portland Trail Blazers selected Oakland’s own Damian Lillard, a point guard out of Weber State, Warriors general manager Bob Myers said his phone went berzerk.
North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes was still on the board.
“My phone almost blew up with people wanting our pick, wanting our player,” Myers said. “He’s got great value and he fits what we need.”
The Warriors happily selected Barnes — a 6-foot-8, 210-pound sophomore small forward —with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. It was, for the Warriors’ front-office, an acceptable selection.
Barnes fell to the Warriors after expecting to be a top five pick thanks to a couple of surprising selections ahead of the Warriors.
After New Orleans selected Kentucky’s stud power forward Anthony Davis, Charlotte threw a curveball by taking Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The Bobcats had been pegged to take Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson or either trade the pick to Cleveland, who wanted to move up to get Florida freshman shooting guard Bradley Beal to pair with Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving. So Kidd-Gilchrist was a reasonable shake-up.
After the Wizards selected Beal, the Cavaliers threw the next curveball. They selected Syracuse’s Dion Waiters, the second-best shooting guard in the draft. Waiters was high on the Warriors list and for the longest time was expected to be the best available player at No. 7.
The Kings selected Robinson with the No. 5 pick and Portland, as expected, got their point guard of the future in Lillard. That left the Warriors choosing between Barnes and Connecticut freshman center Andre Drummond.
Drummond, a super athletic 7-footer, is reputed for having the most upside in the draft. He’s also a project years away from being NBA ready. The Warriors opted for Barnes, who perhaps the higher value and is ready to contribute right away.
Barnes is known as a scorer. He’s got nice size and respectable athleticism to go with a good mid-range jumper. He’s considered one of the more NBA-ready players in the draft after averaging 17.1 points on 44 percent shooting with the Tar Heels last season.
“Were thrilled. We love this player,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said. “We love him for our team. He is one of the best people in the draft and we think one of the best players.”