The Golden State Warriors are in a unique situation, armed with a pair of lottery picks in the NBA draft while trying to put together a roster to compete for a championship next season. It’s certainly a better place to be in than the alternative, as they so often were trying to keep their dynasty going with late first-round picks.
One year after an injury-plagued season saw the Warriors pick second overall, Golden State fell just short of making the playoffs this past season, losing in consecutive play-in games to the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies. That awarded them the fourteenth pick in the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft.
Should the Golden State Warriors take an older prospect in the NBA draft to help now, or try to swing for upside and extend their window?
One school of thought when picking in the draft lottery is to swing for upside. The Warriors don’t expect to be back in the lottery anytime soon, so now is the time to strike for upside. It’s very possible they follow that line of drafting with their pick at No. 7 and take a young wing like Jonathan Kuminga.
Doing so would likely bump them in the direction of taking an older prospect at 14 to plug into the rotation now. The problem with that is it’s built on an assumption there are players capable of playing right away. Those players exist; the Memphis Grizzlies made the playoffs with two rookies in their rotation this past year. It’s just hard to identify which older prospects are “NBA ready” and which are simply older.
Let’s unpack some of the options available to the Warriors at No. 14. We will look at two older options frequently mocked to the Warriors here, as well as two young prospects with upside. Before we do that, let’s thread the needle and look at a young player who could also be ready to step in early and contribute.