The 2021 NBA Draft is still over one month away, but like every summer, until the picks are made, there will be mock drafts, as well as free agency and trade rumors galore. If recent years are any indication of what may lie ahead for the Golden State Warriors, and the organization decides to keep both of their first-round lottery picks, Dub Nation can expect their team to find one or two diamonds in the rough.
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NBA.com senior writer Michael C. Wright wrote a piece Thursday detailing who he thought were the “10 biggest NBA Draft steals from the last 10 years” and there are a pair of very familiar faces that made the list. Between them, they have made six NBA All-Defensive teams, four All-NBA teams, eight All-Star teams and won six titles.
Oh, and one was taken 11th overall and the other was selected with the fifth pick in the second round at 35th overall.
Warriors’ Dynasty Helped by Klay, Dray Picks in Early 2010s
Before looking at the pair of Dubs who were on Wright’s list, it’s important to note that Stephen Curry isn’t among the biggest steals in this situation. While Curry dropping to seventh overall in his draft seems like a crime looking back, his selection came just outside of 10 years ago, in the 2009 event.
Still, no matter how many times basketball aficionados look at that year’s draft class, it’s wild that Curry dropped to the Dubs at seventh. Really, the only player taken before the number seven slot who can even remotely hold a candle to Curry was James Harden at third overall.
“We’ve sorely missed this sharpshooter’s presence over the last two years, and hopefully he returns to full health soon,” Wright wrote of Thompson. “The five-time All-Star was the 11th pick of the 2011 draft, and he’s earned All-NBA Third Team twice (2015, 2016) in addition to making the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2019.”
“He’s a mainstay on the All-NBA Defensive team, making six appearances. Green’s knowledge of the game is unmatched, and he’s going to be a star on television once he decides to call it quits,” Wright wrote of Green.
Among the “standout” selections ahead of Green that year were Thomas Robinson (fifth), Royce White (16th) and Bernard James (33rd).
MVPs, DPOYs, NBA Champions Also Made the List
Aside from Thompson and Green, Wright’s list of biggest steals in the last 10 years reads more like an All-Star Game roster. Stunningly, both the 2015 and 2017 NBA Drafts saw lucky number 13 in play in the biggest way possible, with the Phoenix Suns choosing Devin Booker and the Utah Jazz selecting Donovan Mitchell respectively.
Even more shocking, two of the game’s biggest stars lasted all the way to number 15 in both the 2011 and 2013 drafts, with Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Anteokounmpo going to the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks respectively. Leonard was traded to the San Antonio Spurs on draft day.
The final four guys were incredibly all picked with the 27th overall selection or later. Rudy Gobert was taken 27th by the Denver Nuggets in 2013 (and immediately traded to the Jazz), Jimmy Butler was chosen by the Chicago Bulls at 30th in 2011, Khris Middleton was the 39th overall pick by the Detroit Pistons in 2012, and of course, the current league MVP – Nikola Jokic – fell all the way to 41st, where he was scooped up by the Nuggets.