Warriors general manager Bob Myers gave head coach Steve Kerr some homework last week: look at seven or eight prospects that Golden State focused on in the first round with his choice.
The NBA Draft Lottery will take place on May 19 at the earliest, but the Warriors are on the right track to vote on the fifth at the latest.
According to several league sources with whom The Chronicle has contacted in the past few days, it is not believed that – contrary to the false designs – the Warriors will play with two of the three players named as choices in the # 1 selection. high: former Memphis Center James Wiseman and Point Guard LaMelo Ball, who last played for the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian National Basketball League. As one source put it: “I think they would only take one of these two if they exchanged the draft and took it for another team.”
In this sense, Wiseman and Ball are not included in the list of guesses that the warriors call “top tier” – the group of prospects they would choose with a top 5 selection:
Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia (6-3, 225, 18 years old): If the warriors land number 1 in the draft, they can trade with them. But if Golden State doesn’t get a worthy offer, Edwards would likely make the top pick, according to a league source.
Although Edwards does not have the efficiency that motor or winning family tree teams expect from a # 1 selection, he has a good chance of becoming a heavily used shooter along the wing who can defend multiple positions. Edwards’ blanket is a multiple all-star, and his bottom is probably a helpful rotation player.
The Warriors could make it much worse than getting him off the bench next season as the sixth or seventh man. And who knows? After a few years of learning Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Edwards might be ready to take responsibility for the franchise.
Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv (6-9, 215, 19): Avdija used a strong second half of the season in a high-profile overseas league to establish itself as number 1 in this class – without a ball that grew up in the USA – and as a likely top 5 selection in the June draft. Although Avdija appears as an average defender in the NBA due to his physical ability, he is an elite passer-by with an uncanny instinct for the game.
His experience in the EuroLeague should give him the chance to play rotation minutes as a rookie, but the Warriors are high on him because of his long-term upward trend. Avdija is simply one of the few players in this design with all-star potential.
If Golden State decides to keep the choice between No. 2 and No. 5 after landing, Avdija will be scrutinized. A source told The Chronicle that some teams believe the Warriors may have Avdija # 2 behind Edwards on their big board.
Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn (6-6, 225, 19): Okoro wouldn’t be a striking choice, but he could immediately help the warriors’ defenses regain their splendor. As a freshman in Auburn, he was one of the best defenders in college basketball, switching games at this end of the pitch with excellent balance and quick hands.
Okoro’s jump shot takes a lot of work, but he’s already shown a knack for the subtle games – screens, box-outs, put-backs – that fuel winning teams. The question is whether his offense leaves too much to be desired for the warriors to feel comfortable if they put him in the top five.
If Golden State were to trade until the mid to late lottery and Okoro were available, it would be highly considered taking it. Its floor is quite high for a 19 year old.
Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton (6-9, 220, 22): Toppin has been associated with the warriors for a reason for months. They’re trying to clash with a healthy curry and Thompson again next season, and no one in this design class is better suited than Toppin to succeed as a newcomer to the Golden State system.
The Associated Press Player of the Year, who led Dayton to the best Flyers season in school history (29-2), makes an offensive contribution (20 points per game, 63.3 percent shooting rate). Toppin’s relatively weak lower body raises questions as to whether he will be more than an adequate defender at the next level. But in a draft full of flawed prospects, Toppin is as close to a sure thing as the Golden State will find.
That didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most difficult players. At the age of 22, Toppin may not have the advantages of younger perspectives. Bill designs let him go back and forth somewhere between No. 2 and the late lottery.
Tyrese Haliburton, PG, State of Iowa (6-5, 175, 20): When the warriors finish in the top 5, they will design the best prospect available – not the player who needs a position. That means that even though Golden State already has Curry as a Point Guard, it’s open to add someone who could possibly take over for him someday.
According to a league source, the warriors on Haliburton are probably higher than on ball. There may not be a player in this design who has a better grasp of the game than Haliburton, who, in addition to an average of 6.5 assists this season, made 50.4% of the game Field shot (41.9% from 3-point range).
Although he will probably never be the face of a franchise, Haliburton is an important complementary piece in the NBA. The warriors could do much worse towards the end of the top 5 or, if they trade down, later in the lottery.
Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm (6-5, 192, 18): Hayes could be the most complete point guard in this design. As a heavily used playmaker in the German top league, he played beyond his years, effortlessly changing the speed and distributing 5.4 templates per game.
Although he still dominates a bit to the left, Hayes has the shrewdness and judgment that NBA coaches expect from their starting point keepers. The problem is that given the composition of the list of warriors, he may have to wait a few years to play big minutes.
However, that would probably not prevent Myers from drawing Hayes. He is polished enough to oust Jordan Poole and Ky Bowman as day one of the main guards of the Golden State. If Curry’s production starts to decline, Hayes might be ready to go on the offensive.
R.J. Hampton, PG / SG, New Zealand Breakers (6-5, 188, 19): In a question mark design, it is sometimes best to take the player with the untapped potential. The Bucks did that in 2013 when they chose not to go for a seasoned college player number 15, but to take a lanky teenager out of the Greek second division named Giannis Antetokounmpo.
No one expects Hampton to be an Antetokounmpo-caliber player, but he does have a combination of length, athleticism, and ball-handling ability that could force a team to apply an early-to-medium lottery selection to him. Hampton scored an average of 9.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in the Australian National Basketball League this season in his final high school year.
Even though Hampton is probably a year or two away from contributing to an NBA team, he has a chance to be great. And not many players can boast of this design.
Bottom line: The warriors are the worst 15-50 in the league, but are more than three times as likely to land number 5 as number 1. If Golden State doesn’t get the top pick and chooses not to act, it will likely try to take Avdija. However, a lot can change until the design.