Kurtenbach: The Warriors are the Bay’s top organization — their NBA Draft showed why

When Warriors general manager Bob Myers said earlier this week that money would not be an issue for his team during the 2022 NBA Draft, he wasn’t lying.

He proved it when the Warriors picked Patrick Baldwin Jr., a long, sweet-shooting wing out of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with the No. 28 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

This is just another pick — another draft — where the Warriors have backed up their big organizational talk with big bucks.

We live in the richest metropolitan area in the United States. This is one of the richest places in the world.

And yet the Giants don’t spend like a big-market team, the 49ers are obsessed with being salary-cap compliant and, on the subject of spending, the A’s are the biggest joke in all of professional sports and the Earthquakes — also owned by John Fisher — follow their lead.

(The Sharks play in a league with a ridiculously low salary cap, )

The Warriors have become the one team that truly represents the Bay, not only because of their on-court success, but their front-office attitude, too.

The Warriors are maximalist to the core. They spend big and make even more. Ownership never seems to be satisfied. Dynasty? No, they’re looking to be an empire.

Some wing from UWM isn’t the player that will put the Warriors over the top anytime soon. We have no idea if he can even play in the NBA.

But the Warriors’ selection of Baldwin — and then their $2 million purchase of the No. 41 pick in the second round, used to select Toledo point guard Ryan Rollins — was a reminder that this ownership is not in it to make a big profit, they’re in it to win now and in the future.

Whatever that costs will be paid.

I don’t expect Baldwin to have much of a role with the Warriors this upcoming season, and that’s what’s most telling about this pick.

He’s a project. A worthy project, but a project nevertheless.

So we’ll see him — probably in the same way we saw Moses Moody last season, which is to say playing time will be sporadic.

In the meantime, the Dubs will play him his rookie salary — and then they’ll pay the rest of the NBA roughly six dollars on every dollar they pay Baldwin.

The Warriors’ luxury tax situation is so significant — there is a circumstance where the Dubs should have a payroll of more than $400 million this upcoming season, should key players be re-signed — that there was significant speculation around the league that Golden State would simply punt their first-round pick this season to save cash.

With Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman, the Warriors have enough young players, as is, right?

The alternative is that they could have used that late first-round pick on a win-now option — a player with a high floor but perhaps not much upside potential.

Instead, the Warriors will pay more than $10 million in total next year just for the right to start playing the long game with Baldwin, who could have been a top-10 (if not top-five) pick if he was in last year’s draft, but who saw his stock plummet after playing an injury-plagued season for his dad at Milwaukee.

Baldwin has an incredible combination of size and a jumper that gives Klay Thompson’s a run for prettiest on the Dubs. If that translates in a serious way to the NBA level, that’s the kind of player that could perfectly round out this team’s young, up-and-coming future core. That’s a player who could be a star.

Of course, he’s the No. 28 pick and he certainly lacks NBA-level athleticism, making him a question on defense and as a shot-creator, too.

This is a big bet.

But it could pay off huge.

That’s the way we do things in the Bay.

Contributed by local news sources

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