Rumors, Speculation and Talks Abound … Here is Some of What I’ve Heard

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.

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Mock Draft v. 2 – The Most Reliable Mock Draft You’ve Seen Thus Far

I reached out to the best basketball minds in the country. This mock draft, for each team, includes the ever reliable insight from the people who know most about what’s going down on Thursday. Yes, the media. Each pick was selected by a media member who covers the team and features a little insight behind their choice.

1. New Orleans Hornets: ANTHONY DAVIS, Kentucky PF, FreshmanJohn Reid, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Davis is a defense-first power forward who has all the tools to emerge quickly.”

2. Charlotte Bobcats: THOMAS ROBINSON, Kansas PF, Junior

Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer: “The Bobcats are hurting for toughness. He has it in abundance.”

3. Washington Wizards: BRADLEY BEAL, Florida SG, Freshman

Michael Lee, Washington Post: “The Wizards have a glaring need for scoring and perimeter shooting; As the best shooting guard in the draft, Beal would address both. He lacks size but is a great rebounder and could form a solid backcourt with John Wall.”

4. Cleveland Cavaliers, HARRISON BARNES, North Carolina SF, Sophomore

Jason Lloyd, Akron Beacon Journal: “The Cavs biggest need is scoring. Barnes provides that and fills the gaping hole at small forward since LeBron James’ departure.”

5. Sacramento Kings, MICHAEL KIDD-GILCHRIST, Kentucky SF, Freshman

Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee: “The Kings haven’t had stability at small forward since the days of Ron Artest. Kidd-Gilchrist gives the Kings a high-energy player with smarts that also defends. The Kings need those traits badly, especially on a team where too many players need to have the ball to be effective. Kidd-Gilchrist is the kind of player coach Keith Smart wants and needs.”

6. Portland Trail Blazers, DAMIAN LILLARD, Weber State PG, Junior

Joe Freeman, The Oregonian: “The Blazers have been chasing a difference-making point guard for years and Lillard is the best in the draft. And while Andre Drummond would fulfill a need, he’s the biggest risk in the draft.”

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Smart Money on Brandon Rush Staying with Warriors Next Season

The Warriors announced they have extended a qualifying offer to swingman Brandon Rush. This formality of an offer,  valued at just over $4 million, makes him a restricted free agent and gives the Warriors the right to match any offer sheet Rush may sign with another team.

But things may not even get that far. Golden State is making clear they want to keep Rush, a common ploy used to scare other teams away from making an offer.

Bob Myers: “We have a restricted free agent who we really like, and who we’re going to keep.”

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SOURCES: Warriors Simply Don’t Have Enough to Trade Up

For those holding out hope the Warriors will trade up into the draft to land Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, you can forget about it.

It’s looking like the Warriors’ best hopes for trading the No. 7 pick will be to move down in the draft, according to multiple sources. With two days left before the NBA draft, it’s turning out that the Warriors don’t have a worthy offer.

“Dorell Wright isn’t enough,” one league source said. “The offers in the top five are better.”

Golden State has been dangling the No. 7 pick and their starting small forward, Wright, who has one year left worth $4 million. But the Warriors 7th pick is too low for teams above Golden State to still get a player they want. For example, Charlotte is reportedly looking to trade the No. 2 pick. But Cleveland’s No. 4 allows them to get Harrison Barnes, someone they like. The Warriors’ No. 7 leaves them choosing between Andre Drumond and Dion Waiters. That’s just not so desirable a spot.

And Wright isn’t the ooomph in the deal the Warriors’ need. His expiring contract is relatively small and he’s coming off a down season. But the Warriors don’t have much else to offer to a team holding a top five pick. The No. 30 doesn’t raise any eyebrows. Klay Thompson is off the table. The other players the Warriors have are either free agents or sitting on undesirable contracts.

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Mock Draft v. 1 – Where My Opinion Takes Over

There are a million mock drafts out there. Some people put lots of work to produce credible mocks (Jonathan Givony, Chad Ford, Sam Amick). This isn’t one of those. My insight/research/reliability certainly won’t be better than theirs. Here, however, is my take on what should happen. So at each pick, I’m going to take over the war room of the respective team – because my insight/research/reliability is certainly better than theirs!

But first, I want your take. I set up a way for you to submit your mock draft to me. On Wednesday, I will post the consensus mock draft based solely on your choices.

OK, my GM cap is now on …

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Moe Harkness, Quincy Miller or Terrence Ross — Which Should the Warriors Draft and Where?

Mo Harkless, the freshman small forward out of St. John’s, said it doesn’t matter to him where he’s drafted. Unfortunately for him, it probably matters to the Warriors.

Even though Golden State may like Harkless, their best-player-available mantra all but rules him out at No. 7. The Warriors could still get him if they want. They could trade down to snatch him up late in the lottery. They could use the No. 30 pick and their second-rounders (Nos 35 and 52) to get a pick in the middle of the round.

“I can bring a lot of energy,” Harkless said Saturday from the Warriors’ downtown Oakland facility. “A guy who plays hard, rebounds and can score in a lot of ways.”

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Meyers Leonard is Good, But at No. 7 Will He Be The Best Player Available?

Warriors fans would probably love Meyers Leonard, should the Warriors draft the 7-foot-1, 250-pound center out of Illinois. Humble. Mature. Appreciative.

But whether his game is as mature and as likable as his personality is the question Golden State will have to determine heading into Thursday’s NBA draft. Some in the Warriors’ contingent, including co-owner Joe Lacob, figure since the Warriors can’t get one of their coveted players or fill a need, they might as well go big.

While Connecticut’s Andre Drummond might have the higher ceiling, Leonard – who worked out for the Warriors on Saturday — seems to be the better fit because he’s definitely a center and figures the be less of a risk.North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller may be more ready to contribute and better in the post, but Leonard is younger and noticeably more athletic.

He’s been compared to Robin Lopez and Tiago Splitter, dubbed a poor man’s Tyson Chandler and Chris Andersen without all the tattoos. Just about any combination of those would be perfect off the bench behind projected starters David Lee and Andrew Bogut. It would be reasonable to expect Leonard to rebound, block shots, knock down an occasional jumper and finish as a rookie.

But Leonard’s value is in his upside. Physically, Leonard rates pretty high. He’s a legit 7-footer with 7-foot-3 wingspan and a frame begging for more bulk. He runs the floor well and has some hops. He’s got and some  elements to his game on which to build.

“People say I’m raw,” Leonard said. “I wouldn’t necessarily characterize it as raw. I think I have a little more of a skill set than some people think I do. The ability to step out and shoot it, get up and down the court, use my athleticism, those are things I can do. I know that at the same time, coning into the gym every day, working on my footwork, back-to-the-basket (game), face-up (game), is very important.”

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