Last week, the Warriors’ season came to an end. This week, it’s the NBA Draft … So is life in the NBA.
For the fifth straight season, the Warriors will have little time to decompress from the end of the season before making moves that can influence the next one with the NBA Draft, which is set for this Thursday at 4 p.m. While the picks will be announced at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Warriors front office executives and scouts will gather at the team’s headquarters in Downtown Oakland and decide what they’ll do with the 28th and 58th picks.
If the Warriors picking at No. 28 sounds familiar, that’s likely because the team was in the same spot last year. In 2018, the Warriors used that selection on Jacob Evans, who split his rookie season playing with the Golden State and Santa Cruz Warriors (G League).
“At that point in the draft, I think you try to get a guy that will eventually be a rotation guy,” Warriors President of Basketball Operations and General Manager said on Friday.
The Warriors haven’t drafted earlier than the 28th pick since selecting Harrison Barnes at No.7 in the 2012 Draft. Before Evans last year, the Dubs had the 30th pick in both 2015 and 2016, selecting Kevon Looney (’15) and Damian Jones (’16), and the team didn’t have any selections in 2013, 2014 and 2017, though the Warriors did make draft night moves to acquire draftees (Jordan Bell in 2017, Nemanja Nedovic in 2013) during those pick-less years.
Looney and Jones both had injury issues early in their careers, which contributed to their still being available for the Warriors so late in the first round during their respective drafts. And though it took a little time, Looney improved his game enough to be what Head Coach Steve Kerr described as a “foundational piece” of the Warriors rotation, and Jones started 22 of his 24 regular season games during the 2018-19 campaign before suffering a torn left pectoral muscle in early December.
Though the Dubs’ haven’t needed their most recent draft selections to make an immediate impact, that might have to change with the team’s picks on Thursday, as the Warriors have nine free agents on their roster, five of which are unrestricted.
Every team has some roster turnover from season to season, and the draft can play a large part in that. Fortunately for the Dubs, they have found value with later picks in the draft. Que your annual reminder that Draymond Green was the fifth pick of the second round in 2012. Add Jones and Looney to the list of later picks that have cracked the team’s rotation in recent seasons, and with any luck, the Dubs can get one, and maybe two, more this Thursday.