With the NBA draft just about a month away, now is as a good a time as any to start looking at prospects. More importantly though, we want to get a feel for players that the Warriors might want to target to help the team improve next season.
In order to do so, I turned to Lucas Shapiro, a scout for Dime; who is usually my go to guy when I require information about upcoming prospects. Enjoy the Q&A.
Two years ago, we had Blake Griffin as our unanimous top choice in the draft and last season it was John Wall. Can we really say that this year we have a unanimous #1 pick?
Yes, we can say that there is a unanimous #1 pick this year in Kyrie Irving. Unlike other years, however, Irving is not the prospect that Griffin or Wall were. Scouts love Irving’s high skill level and professionalism at such a young age, but he’s not the freak athlete that NBA teams love. Don’t get me wrong, I like Irving, but does he have the upside to become anything more than a top-7 point guard? Unless he lands in an ideal situation, probably not.
Fact or fiction: This draft is short on potential franchise players and will instead see several players selected that will become solid rotation players at best.
Fact. This year may not have one franchise player in it. What this draft does have is a lot of potential starters and rotational players. In that aspect, I actually think this draft is deep. From the fourth pick to the top of the second round, there are guys who have the potential to be starters in the league. Scouts complain about this draft because it is not heavy at the top but I think they are overlooking the value of role players.
Who are the best players in this draft?
There are two players at the top of this draft who are head and heels better than the rest in Kyrie Irving of Duke and Derrick Williams of Arizona. If Williams can become a full-time small forward, I think he has the highest upside of anyone in this year’s draft. He will be physically superior to other small forwards, similar to LeBron James. I’m not saying he’s going to dominate like James, but he will be able to dominate physically, which is a huge advantage. As for Irving, I think he is the type of leader that all teams would love to have. He might not be soaring through the lane for dunks, but he’s going to make players around him better.
According to experts, the Golden State Warriors seem to be interested with drafting either Marcus Morris or Jan Veseley. How do you project these players to turn out in the pros?
I love both. They are both small forwards/power forwards. They are very different though. Morris has a high skill level whereas Vesely is known for acrobatic dunks. This is pretty ironic because European players and American college players are known for the exact opposites. I’m not sure that either of these guys would be good fits for the Golden State Warriors though. In the past, they haven’t had much success with skinny, long, and athletic forwards. I would really love to see them go after someone like Bismack Biyombo. Bioymobo is drawing many Serge Ibaka comparisons. He is ready to step on the floor in the NBA on the defensive end and that’s exactly what the Warriors need.
Given the fact that the Dubs have not yet selected a head coach, it’s tough to get a firm grasp on what it is exactly that the Warriors are looking for in the draft. With that said, we do know that the team struggled on defense as well as on the boards; so which player in the draft could come in right now and help Golden State in one or possibly both of these aspects?
As I mentioned above, Biyombo would be a great fit in my opinion. Two other guys that the Warriors should take a hard look at trading down for are Jordan Williams or Kenneth Faried. Both have NBA ready bodies and crash the boards with ferocity. Faried might fit in better with the Warriors because he is more athletic, but Williams might be a nice change-of-pace guys for the Warriors.
Who is your favorite player in this draft that no one is talking about?
I like Malcolm Lee from UCLA. I think that he’s suffered from playing in a system that doesn’t suit his talents but UCLA has proven to prepare guards well for the NBA. Just take a look at Russell Westbrook and Jrue Holiday. Neither of them produced at a high rate in college, but are excelling in the NBA. At 6’5 with legitimate point guard skills, Lee might be a steal for a team looking for a spark off of their bench at the top of the second round.
What did you think of Ekpe Udoh’s play this year?
I love Udoh. I think that he’s the future starter at the power forward position. He brings energy and has a lot of room for improvement on the offensive end. He fits into their style of play perfectly.
Before we go, I know that you’re a 76ers fan. What did you think of Evan Turner’s performance this season?
I really like Evan Turner. During the Miami Heat series, I almost forgot that he was a rookie at times. Just because he may never be an All-Star doesn’t mean people should give up on him just yet. He steps up when his name is called and can do so many different things on the floor. If he started every game this year, he would be a threat for a triple-double every night. I’m not sure if they should build around him and Iguodala or both of them, but I think Turner is worth keeping around.