Golden State Warriors

What could the Golden State Warriors get for their 2020 NBA Draft pick?

After an injury-plagued season, the Warriors will hold one of the best picks in the 2020 NBA Draft. What could they get if they decide to trade it?

Even before the season was suspended, the 2019-20 version of the Golden State Warriors was not coming close to living up to the standard the team set over the past five years. That, of course, was to be expected. Kevin Durant left in free agency, Andre Iguodala was traded, Shaun Livingston retired, Klay Thompson began the year on the sideline, Stephen Curry soon joined him, and D’Angelo Russell followed shortly after that.

Without all those players, the Warriors had no real way to manufacture offense, and they simply had too many leaks for even Draymond Green to plug on defense. So, the Warriors plummeted to the bottom of the league’s standings, ensuring that they would get to hang onto the top-20 protected first-round pick they sent to Brooklyn in the Durant-Russell swap. As it stands now, the Warriors are four games clear of the Cavaliers for the worst record in the NBA, which means they would be able to fall no lower than the No. 5 pick if the draft lottery were to be held today.

While nabbing such a high draft pick would allow the Warriors to inject some needed youth and cost-controlled talent into the rotation over the next several seasons, one could argue that they might be better served spinning that pick off in a trade that lands a player more ready to help Steph and Klay and Draymond get back to the Finals during the course of their current contracts, which are likely to take them through their respective primes. The 2020-21 season will be Steph’s age-32 campaign, while it will be Draymond and Klay’s age-30 season. Steph and Klay’s spectacular shooting ability is likely to help them age gracefully; but Draymond is a bit more dependent on his athleticism and quickness, and even if the Splash Brothers do defy aging curves, they’re still likely to drop off from their respective peaks.

Even if for no reason other than that, it’s worth digging into what kinds of players they might be able to target with that draft pick as part of the bait. They could go in a number of directions depending on what they think their needs are, but some of the options are more attractive than others.

Almost without question, the most attractive trade piece potentially on the market is Bradley Beal. He said all the right things in the lead-up to his extension with the Wizards, which is what always happens when players like Beal become eligible for extensions. But he was pretty clearly getting frustrated with how things were going right before the league got shut down, and it would not be surprising if he pushed for a trade at some point.

With their own pick, the Timberwolves’ pick that was acquired in the Andrew Wiggins trade, and Wiggins himself (to match salaries), the Warriors have plenty of ammo with which they can approach the Wizards for an offer. Beal turns 27 years old this summer, so while he is a win-now player who can help Steph, Klay, and Draymond in their quest to get back to the top, he is a few years younger than them and can thus keep the team’s window open a bit longer than if they were to acquire someone in the age 30-32 range.

And that’s before we even get to considering the possibilities that would come with plopping a shooter like Beal onto the court with the two greatest shooters of all time. Or the fact that Beal is so much more than just a shooter. His development as an off-the-bounce creator for himself and others has been underrated these past couple years. Beal’s defense has slipped the past two seasons, but much of that is because he is counted on to carry so much of the offensive load, and a decent chunk of it is because the Wizards essentially punted defense this season in favor of an effort to outscore everybody.

Beyond Beal, I’m not sure there’s actually a player who could be both potentially available this summer and worthy of securing the Warriors’ own draft pick as part of the deal, unless you think the Sixers would actually make one of Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid available should they flame out of the playoffs. (I personally think they would just fire Brett Brown and see if someone else could make it work before they put one of those guys on the market.)

Your mileage may vary on that front, but there are still some other players who I could see being made available that would also be intriguing targets for Golden State.

Myles Turner, for instance, makes a ton of sense as a center option for them. He is a terrific defender, particularly in space, and he has the ability to switch and/or play drop coverages and cut off access to the paint. He’s also comfortable taking a secondary or tertiary role in the offense, and he can leverage his shooting and ability to beat closeouts to do even more for Golden State than he does for Indiana. Giving Curry another pick-and-roll partner who isn’t Green would be a valuable thing for the Warriors as well. The current crop of centers can’t do much beyond roll to the rim and look for lobs, but Turner can pop out for 3s and/or make plays on the move. With Domantas Sabonis seemingly overtaking him in the Pacers’ pecking order, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Turner was the one made available should they decide the duo needs to be split up.

In a similar vein, but with a far different skill set is Aaron Gordon. He would fit seamlessly into the Warriors’ defensive system, and perhaps being around Green and Thompson would unlock the truly elite defender that many have seen inside him but has not consistently shown up on the floor. He could play alongside Green in the frontcourt with no problems given their respective abilities to eat up space, and on offense, he could finally slide into the Shawn Marion-esque role he has always been destined for.

If the Warriors went looking for a Beal type that would cost less than Beal to acquire, why not Buddy Hield? The Kings elected to move him to the bench in favor of Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Hield did not seem too happy about the development. That doesn’t mean he’s going to get shipped out, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask. Hield is not as strong on the ball nor on defense as Beal, but he would bring even more shooting to the table.

One thing the Warriors have been lacking for the past several seasons is a guard with off-the-bounce dynamism that isn’t named Curry. Durant at least provided another individual shot-creator, but now he’s gone. So is Russell, who would presumably have filled that role. But with the Nets’ seemingly ill-fitting backcourt pieces, why not hit them up about Spencer Dinwiddie and/or Caris LeVert? Each of them could fit as a complementary piece alongside and/or behind Steph and Klay, and their contracts are extremely affordable. There could be some defensive limitations there, but as we saw this season, the Warriors do still need some help doing the offensive lifting as well.

Next: Weird statistical nuggets from the 2019-20 NBA season

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