The Golden State Warriors had a lot happening on the day of the 2020 NBA Draft. There was a ton of hype considering they had the #2 pick of the draft and had their championship-winning Big 3 returning to the court as well.
That was until a couple of hours before the draft began they received word that their All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson tore his right Achilles. After the news broke, many sports pundits began to debate, would the Warriors stick to their perceived plan of drafting the skilled Memphis Tigers center James Wiseman or take people by surprise and select the hot-shot guard from California by way of Australia LaMelo Ball?
According to one former NBA player and current ESPN analyst, they told the current Charlotte Hornets guard Ball they were selecting him before deciding to go with Wiseman during their selection.
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Warriors Told Ball They Would Draft Him, Per Rose
By now there are hundreds of stories of teams telling players they would select them if they had the chance but they just couldn’t move up in time during the draft. This goes for almost every sport.
The same applies to the NBA where Ball wouldn’t be the only player this has ever happened to. On the Jalen and Jacoby Podcast, Rose explained what exactly happened that night.
“I know (the Warriors) could have taken LaMelo, but I know why they didn’t,” Rose mentioned on the show. “By the way, the night of the draft, the Golden State Warriors told LaMelo Ball they were going to take him next and they didn’t do it. … (Wiseman) was the right pick but that didn’t stop them from telling LaMelo Ball that they were taking him.
“Right after they got off the phone with LaMelo Ball’s team, and telling them they were going to take him, I was apart of the next call. I sent an internal text to our producers on ‘NBA Countdown’ and told them that. Then the pick happened and they didn’t (take him).”
Jalen Rose on the @JalenandJacoby show “The night of the draft, the Golden State Warriors told LaMelo Ball they were going to take him next, and they didn’t do it. That story going to come out soon.”
(Video of LaMelo hinting he was going no.2 👀)pic.twitter.com/aTOHJTr8X6
— BasketballNews.com (@basketbllnews) March 9, 2021
Again, this happens more times than most actually think as teams change their plans constantly. Yet, what makes this situation so different is that the Warriors were in need of a guard and could have used Ball in a variety of ways this season.
Would Ball Have Fit in Golden State?
As previously mentioned, the Warriors could have used another guard in their lineup. If the Warriors had selected Ball they possibly would not have to have traded for the contract of Kelly Oubre Jr.
Considering that Oubre Jr.’s contract takes the team over the luxury tax, that’s a bill they would have been able to wait on rather than look to potentially trade right now. If the team would have still gone on to do so, they instead would not have had to sign former Boston Celtic guard Brad Wannamaker as Ball has largely played the role of backup point guard for the Hornets this season.
In the starting lineup, Ball could have played the point guard or shared that responsibility with Steph Curry and helped to create shots for Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, and whomever else would have been in their starting lineup. Off the bench, he would have been a dynamic lead guard to help keep the tempo of the game up and running.
Regardless, it seems as if Golden State ultimately made the right decision as a big as skilled as Wiseman does not enter the draft every couple of years. While it may take some more time for Wiseman’s true potential to fully display itself no Warriors fan should be disappointed as Wiseman could one day be a Top-5 center in the NBA.