After just missing out on the playoffs following losses in the play-in tournament, the Golden State Warriors are most likely to get the No. 14 pick in the draft. However, when the NBA draft lottery takes place on June 22, Golden State could luck into a much higher spot.
Thanks to a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Warriors may find themselves with an additional first-round pick in the 2021 draft. As long as Minnesota doesn’t get a top-three pick in the lottery, it will be going to Golden State.
According to Tankathon, the Timberwolves have the best chance at getting the seventh pick at 29.7%. After that, their best odds are the No. 8 pick at 20.6% and the No. 4 pick at 9.6%. This doesn’t give the Warriors a great chance at grabbing one of the draft’s top prospects, but at 1-in-10, the possibility remains.
There are, according to most scouts, five potentially great players in this draft. If the Warriors get the Timberwolves’ pick but it’s not the fourth pick, then the best names will probably be off the board by the time it’s their turn to make a selection. But if Golden State is lucky, they might have a shot at taking these players at No. 4:
The latest Warriors news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Warriors newsletter here!
A 6-foot-8-inch-combo guard from Oklahoma State, Cunningham has good size for a backcourt player and could be an intriguing choice alongside Stephen Curry.
He showed a very strong all-around game as a Fr., and his projection to the NBA is centered around his size and frame, ability to be a playmaker for himself and others, promise as a position less defender, his emergence as a knockdown shooter, and as someone you can rely on to take and make a shot in the clutch all in one
The thing about Cunningham, however, is that the Warriors are highly unlikely to have a shot at him. Many mock drafts have the former Oklahoma State guard being the No. 1 pick in the draft, so Cunningham would have to somehow fall in the draft for Golden State to get him.
Jalen Green is a 6-foot-6-inch shooting guard who is known as one of the top scorers in this year’s draft. He opted to play with the G-League’s Ignite team as one of its first members instead of competing in college for a year. Green was Ignite’s star player, shooting 46.1% from the field while averaging 17.9 points over the course of 15 games. He also averaged 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Sam Vecenie of The Athletic has compared Green to one of the NBAs elite scorers:
Green is closer to a Zach LaVine type, where he uses his twitchy explosiveness to be productive early, then continues to build out his handle and shooting ability to put himself into more dangerous situations.
Having a scorer like Green could be especially helpful considering Klay Thompson, who hasn’t played since the 2019 NBA Finals, is working his way back from an Achilles injury.
At the end of May, NBC Sports Bay Area reported that Warriors general manager Bob Myers was unsure whether Thompson would be ready to return by the start of next season. So having Green could help fill that void and take some pressure off of Thompson — and Curry, too. Not to mention he could be a potential candidate for the next franchise player.
Like Green, Jonathan Kuminga played for the G-League’s Ignite program in its inaugural season. A small forward listed at 6-feet, 6-inches and 210 pounds, Green was Ignite’s second-leading scorer with 15. 8 points per game while shooting 38.7% from the field. But it’s his defensive potential that helps him stand out.
The combination of his size, strength and athleticism makes him the most versatile defender in this draft class. He will comfortably be able to defend 1-through-4 at the next level, and may even be able to take on the challenge against some 5’s.
Kuminga could develop into a solid two-way player and be a nice complement to a lineup with Curry, Thompson and even Draymond Green. He also would be a good young player to build around as Golden State’s star players age.
With James Wiseman already on the Warriors’ roster, Evan Mobley might not be the best choice for the Warriors should they get the top-four pick. But he could be worth a look given his size and potential.
The 7-footer from USC has been referred to as a “versatile two-way big with a clear path to being an elite defender and the long-term potential to be a go-to scorer” by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.
Having Mobley in addition to Wiseman, however, wouldn’t have to be a negative thing, though. Golden State needs more size in their frontcourt, and it could be beneficial for Wiseman to have another young big in Mobley to push himself.
There’s also the fact that Wiseman, who suffered a right meniscus tear in April, is currently recovering from said injury. He is expected to be back in time for next season, but Mobley could still be worth it. Mobley could come in and prove to be better suited as a starting center than Wiseman, who was in and out of the starting lineup during his 39 games this past season.
Even with a 32-year-old Curry as their franchise player, the Warriors aren’t in the market for a star point guard. But they could potentially have a chance at one of the league’s next elite guards in Gonzaga’s 6-foot-4-inch Jalen Suggs.
Kelsey Russo of The Athletic pointed out Suggs’ versatility in the outlet’s latest mock draft:
Then, as a scorer, he brings the power to get by defenders, find his way into the paint and get to the rim.
Defensively, Suggs has the skill set to guard 1 through 3 with high-level on-ball defense when he chooses to engage.
His playmaking talents, while still valuable, wouldn’t be as essential for the Warriors unless he comes off the bench as the backup point guard. But Suggs’ scoring and defensive abilities could be of good use and help make him effective alongside Curry as a starter.