We are officially 8 days away from the NBA draft as speculation regarding the Warriors #2 pick continues. At this point, there are no inklings on who’s at the top of the Warriors draft board. But, it’s safe to assume that James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards , and Lamelo Ball are at the top of it.
Each player has extraordinary talent that would instantly contribute to the Warriors roster. Here are some of the pros and cons of each prospect.
Let’s be honest, James Wiseman is an athletic freak that would instantly give the Warriors the size, length, and athleticism the Warriors were lacking last season. There’s no doubt his 7 foot 6 wingspan will benefit the Warriors on both sides of the floor. Wiseman averaged 3 blocks per game during his short stint at Memphis, showcasing his ability to protect the rim and alter shots in the paint. His speed, agility, and quickness allows him to guard the perimeter on defensive switches. That’s not to mention that Wiseman held opposing teams to 33% from the field during his 69 minutes of collegiate play. That type of production defensively would be huge for the Warriors, who thrive on generating defensive stops and scoring in transition. Wiseman enjoys playing above the rim, and Golden State’s potent offense full of nonstop player movement and off-ball screens should give the rookie plenty of opportunities. Especially as a lob threat.
November 12th, 2019 was the last time James Wiseman competed in an organized basketball game. Yes, you read that correctly. Wiseman only played 69 minutes for the Memphis Tigers before being suspended for 12 games due to issues with his eligibility. Instead of serving the suspension, Wiseman elected to sit out and to focus on the draft, entirely unaware that the pandemic would further delay his name being called. With that being said, there will be a 13 month gap between Wiseman’s last college game and his NBA debut. It raises concerns about how far he is in his development, and how quickly he will adapt to the next level because of it. Now don’t get me wrong, Wiseman has all of the tools to become a lethal rim protector in this league, but the Warriors are in win-now mode and may choose experience over raw talent.
Anthony Edwards is a shifty athletic guard that can score on all three levels of the court. He utilizes great body control when he is attacking the paint. He has a quick first step and is a handful to guard in the open court due to his solid body frame and overwhelming strength. That’s not mentioning his ability to bully smaller guards in the post. The Warriors could benefit from a guy like Edwards because of his freakish athletic ability, strength, agility, and nonstop motor. Edwards would lead the 2nd unit and provide the Warriors with much needed bench scoring. Something the team lacked last season. Also, Edwards has the physical traits to become a decent perimeter defender when he puts in the effort. He averaged 1.3 steals per game at Georgia and at times, was able to generate blocks with his athleticism and defensive instincts. (0.6 Blocks per game)
Edwards didn’t exactly shoot lights out from 3-point land during his time at Georgia. In fact, he only converted about 29% (72/255) of his attempts last season. As we all know, the Warriors offense is designed to space the floor out with outside scorers. So, his ability to knock down corner threes would be crucial to the Warriors success. With that being said, that doesn’t mean Edwards wouldn’t be effective on the Warriors if his 3-point shooting doesn’t improve. It just means he would need to adjust his shot selection to better fit his role. Much like Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala had to during the teams five year finals run.
Lamelo Ball is probably the biggest name in this entire draft because of his raw talent, and off the court stardom. Ball, who played last season in the NBL, isn’t a stranger to professional basketball. In fact, he has played professionally against grown men since he was 16. Ball has elite court vision and ball handling ability. His ability to create his own shot is what makes him such a lethal offensive weapon. There’s no question, the Warriors could use another ball handler, and Ball wouldn’t be a bad choice. At 6’ 7” Ball has the size and length to get to his favorite spots with ease. He has a quick shot release and has no problem shooting over smaller defenders. But most importantly, Ball is lethal in transition, and can make opposing teams pay with his pinpoint accuracy and ability to finish above the rim.
One of the biggest knocks against Lamelo Ball is his inconsistent jumpshot. His form is far from fluid, and his release point is low. Also, Ball shot poorly from deep last season, only converting 25% of his shots. (While averaging 6 attempts per game) Ball would need to adjust his shot selection to be effective in Golden State. Another question about Ball’s fit on Golden State is his motor on defense. In the past, Ball has played some lazy defense. He appeared to be disinterested on the defensive side of the ball. The Warriors pride themselves on the defensive side of the ball. They thrive when they generate stops and get out in transition. Ball has the physical tools to become a decent on ball defender, but he needs to be engaged each time down the floor. Ball would likely lead the Warriors 2nd unit if they take him #2 overall
Golden State finds themselves in a unique position. Why? Because they aren’t your typical lottery pick. They already have the foundation of their roster put in place. Therefore, they aren’t obligated to make a selection. In fact, there are rumors floating around that Bob Myers has already tried trading the pick. But if they don’t, they will likely choose the prospect who will fit the teams scheme best.