SAN FRANCISCO — The championship parade buzz is still wearing off, but the Warriors have to pivot focus to Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Golden State has the 28th overall pick and two second-round picks in Thursday night’s draft, but no urgency to fill a roster spot. The Warriors have seven free agents, and a 2023 run to defend their title could depend on keeping a majority of them — including Gary Payton II, Kevon Looney and Otto Porter Jr. — or identifying players that match their production in the free agency market.
The Warriors were thin at center this season: James Wiseman missed the season recovering from knee surgery done last April, pushing Kevon Looney and Draymond Green to play center all year. Wiseman is expected to play Summer League and return healthy next year to add depth there.
With no clear position to fill, the Warriors say their strategy will be to take the best player available on the board.
“I think we’ll go best player, (that’s) usually what we fall back on,” president of basketball operations Bob Myers said. “But I think the league is pretty wing-heavy and we’ve seen that position have a lot of value.”
The Warriors’ front office is burning through film to build a big board. Myers said the team is “ready” for the big night despite the three-month title run distraction.
“I guess high-class problem,” he said. “We’ve done this five times, so this is six. I didn’t know that we’d be doing it again. But we have done it before. Got to lean on your staff. Got to lean on the people that have been doing it the whole year.”
The Warriors pride themselves on an ability to win now and develop their next generation of players — their roster holds lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga (19 years old), Moses Moody (20) and Wiseman (21).
But in order to defend their title, the Warriors may opt to line their roster with more veterans than projects. Certainly the Warriors would consider trading the 28th pick if an offer was on the table.
“I don’t think the money is going to be a factor as far as whether we trade out or keep the pick,” Myers said. “It’ll be if it makes sense, so it won’t really be a money decision. We’ve got like 15, 20 people up on the ninth floor right now watching film and getting the draft order and getting our board aligned.
“…We’ve been in this position before. But you get a guy like (Jordan) Poole it shows you valuable is it to get it right. We don’t get it right every time. We have had some guys that haven’t worked out.”
The Warriors picked Poole 28th overall in the 2019 draft, days after Kevin Durant tore his Achilles and Klay Thompson tore his ACL in the Warriors’ Finals loss to Toronto. Shortly thereafter, Durant left the Warriors for the Nets. Poole went through significant growing pains through the Warriors’ two down seasons, but he was a key contributor to their 2022 title run.
Of course, Golden State isn’t planning to have two years for this year’s top pick to develop, so whoever they select, he won’t have much margin for error.
Contributed by local news sources