After finishing the 2010/2011 season at 36-46, the Golden State Warriors are trying to build themselves a winning franchise for the upcoming 2011/2012 season. They are already having a busy offseason so far with the recent hiring of Jerry West, their search for a new head coach, and of course, preparing for the NBA Draft. With a pending lockout looming overhead and a number of expiring contracts coming off the books, there are an array of different factors playing into this year's draft, and the Warriors brain trust have an array of directions that they can go.
The Warriors' search for a new head coach has been at the forefront of the Warriors offseason operations so far, but have stated that their search may go beyond the NBA Draft on June 23. So without a head coach, what do I think that General Manager Larry Riley and Assistant GM Bob Myers looking for in the draft? Three words: size, athleticism, and value.
Many analysts believe that this is a weak draft class, but that doesn't mean that the Warriors can't get quality additions out of it either. There are a number of players that could suit Golden State well at multiple positions; and have two picks to acquire them. The W's main point of need is at the center position in my opinion, a big body that can dominate on both offense and defense. Depth at the small and power forward positions are needed and point guard depth is also a factor.
What about trades? Could a player like Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum come and fix the W's woes? What about Chris Paul? A lottery pick and a bunch of expiring contracts can spell big moves for some teams, and the Warriors could use a big name addition to their frontcourt. Larry Riley has also stated that W's don't need inexperience or a project coming out of the draft, so How will that affect how the team proceeds?
The group of Monta Ellis, David Lee, Stephen Curry, and Dorell Wright is a solid core of players to build around, the key is to find the right players to plug in to maximize the players they have. There aren't any true standouts as a top pick for the Warriors, but there are many talented youngsters that could make a positive impact on the team, or provide trade value later on (or on draft day). Here's my list of players to watch; but first, some important information to remember:
Warriors have # 11 and # 41 overall picks in 2011 NBA Draft
2010/11 NBA Stats (from NBA.com)
- 36-46 record
- 19th in rebounding 40.5 a game
- 27th in points allowed 105.7 a game
- 7th in scoring at 103.4 a game
- 2nd in 3-point % at 39.2%
Expiring Contracts: 2011/12 Season (from HoopsHype.com)
- Reggie Williams, Jeff Adrien, (restricted)
- Vladimir Radmanovic, Acie Law, Al Thornton, Charlie Bell (all unrestricted)
- Louis Amundson (player option $2.4 million)
Budget Allocated to Player Contracts (from HoopsHype.com)
- 2010/11: $68.04 Million
- 2011/12: $49.105 Million (w/ expiring contracts, w/o Amundson option)
Got all that? Good. Now, here's my list of possible players the Warriors could draft in 2011 NBA Draft:
Enes Kanter, C- Kentucky
At 6'11" 260 pounds, Kanter would be just what the doctor ordered for the Warriors. The Turkish born big man with solid post skills and rebounding prowess and could make quite the one-two punch with David Lee down on the blocks. He's only 19, but is definitely NBA ready, toping most mock drafts as the best center in this year's class. Here's video of him at the 2010 Nike Hoops Summit where he set a new record with 34 points. Remind you this was a year ago as well, he's gotten better.
Enes Kanter 2010 Nike Hoop Summit highlights (via omeroguz)
Jonas Valanciunas, C - Lithuania
Another big man with a lot of value, Valanciunas is a guy that could add depth to the Warriors current lack of post presence. He's a great athlete who has the build to be physical, D up, and grab boards against NBA caliber talent. He's not as polished as Kanter, but still would be an upgrade to a guy like Andris Biedrins, who's numbers have declined steadily. Kanter may be off the board already when the W's 11th overall pick comes along, so Valanciunas could be a nice second option at center.
Jan Vessely SF/PF- Czech Republic
Vessely is one of the most exciting players in the Euro league right now, playing for Partizan Belgrade in Serbia. He's a lengthy 6'11" forward that can play and defend multiple positions. Vessely could provide a lot of bench depth as well as be a nice counterpart to Dorell Wright, giving the W's another solid offense player who can keep up his end on defense too. The kid loves to throw down sick dunks as well (see video below) something that I'm sure would go nicely with Curry and Ellis dishing him the ball.
Jan Vesely MIX : The dunking ninja (Czech Basketball Talents) (via Ousvec)
Kawhi Leonard SF - SDSU
At 6'7" 227 pounds, Leonard was a big factor to the success of San Diego State last season, and could prove to do the same for the Warriors this season. He's a high-energy guy who loves to run the floor and score, possessing a solid jumper, grabs his fair share of boards, and some range to boot. He'd likely be a bench player, but a solid addition nonetheless if Golden State decided to take him in the first round.
Jimmer Fredette, PG- BYU
Most of the nation caught Jimmer fever during the NCAA basketball season this year, and with good cause. His offensive game is off the charts, especially hitting three's from ‘Jimmer range,' and could be a great addition to the W's backcourt. As a backup to Stephen Curry at the point, Jimmer's talents could easily make him a 6th man for the W's sometime during the season. He has good size and strength for a PG, and even is a bit underrated defensively in my opinion.
Marcus Morris SF/PF- Kansas
Marcus became one of the most dominant players in college basketball this past season at Kansas, proving his skills in the low post and as a solid rebounder. He is a bit of a poor free throw shooter, only 68% during his time at Kansas, but his jumper is sound and wont take much for him to be NBA ready. Morris could be making a contribution in his first year with the Warriors without a doubt; using a lottery pick on him would be a good fit for the W's.
Prospect Profile - Marcus Morris (via DraftExpress)
Bismack Biyombo C -Congo
Currently playing is Spain for Illescas, the Congo native Biyombo is a player not too dismilar to the Warriors draft pick of last year Ekpe Udoh. He's a shot blocker extraordinaire like Udoh with an incredible 7'7" wingspan on his 6'10" frame, and is quite the presence on defense to say the least. He has a pretty weak offensive game at this point in his career, but his defense and rebounding abilities make him worth a look for the W's to take in the first round. Here's Biyombo at the 2011 Nike Hoops Summit:
Bismack Biyombo records a triple-double, dominates the competition at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit (via timfsbrown)
Greg Smith PF/C- Fresno St.
This 6'9" sophomore out of Fresno State could be a very good pickup with the Warriors second round pick, providing some bench depth at the forward position. He's a good package of size and strength with great quickness and athleticism, and has the ability to attack the rim or pull up and hit a J.
Kyle Singler SF- Duke
Another option in the second round is Duke standout Kyle Singler, who's deep rooted fundamentals and all around abilities would definitely improve the Warriors bench situation. Singler's game may take some time to develop in the NBA, but with his background and coachable nature, he'd be a nice addition to any NBA roster.
Jeremy Tyler, PF- San Diego, CA
Tyler was a highly recruited high school Junior out of San Diego a few year's ago but decided to forego his senior year, broke his commitment to Louisville, and played overseas. He now is with the Tokyo Apache, and has become somewhat forgotten in this year's draft. He's could turn into a top-notch big man who's a bit under the radar as of now, but the W's could get a steal if he falls to them in the second round.