Onyeka Okongwu

NBA Draft 2020: Who Warriors should take if they can't trade No. 1 pick

NBA Draft 2020: Who Warriors should take if they can't trade No. 1 pick

The Warriors' season came to a close when the NBA first shut down on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Their prep for the draft, however, only ramped up. 

For the first time in what feels like forever, the Warriors are guaranteed a top pick in this year's draft. Thanks to a NBA-worst 15-50 record, Golden State has a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick, tied for the best odds in the league. The Warriors also won't know just how high they pick until the lottery is held on Aug. 25. 

But in the case the Warriors do receive the top pick in the draft, which will be held on Oct. 16, what player should they add?

Trading the pick might be the fastest way to restart the Warriors' dynasty, but what if they can't find a team willing to make a deal? Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole and former Warriors general manager Garry St. Jean were tasked with playing GM for the day. They had to argue who they would take No. 1 overall if the Warriors had to keep their selection. 

St. Jean, who served as both a head coach and GM in the NBA, went the safest route. 

"They take the best player that they have up on their board," St. Jean said. "Don't worry about position. People get caught up in that. ... Take the best player."

Now, who's the top player on the Warriors' big board? There's no way to know, but Mullin and Poole both have their own evaluations. They argued between two big men, plus a long guard. 

James Wiseman, C, Memphis

Wiseman, the top recruit in the nation going into last season, only played three games as a freshman but it was enough for Mullin. The Warriors legend loved what he saw from the athletic center. 

"I like Wiseman. I just think he's the type of player that can come in immediately," Mullin said. "He runs the floor like a gazelle, he can finish around the rim. With that spread offense, he puts pressure on with those lobs and I think he'll block shots." 

The 19-year-old is listed at 7-foot-1 and 240 pounds. It was a small sample size, but he proved his talent by averaging 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game before NCAA violations forced him to leave Memphis and prepare for the draft. Golden State must have been impressed, too. The Athletic's Anthony Slater reported in early June that the Warriors already have met with Wiseman over Zoom.

"I like Wiseman because I can see him being able to produce on Day 1 with the things that he's good at," Mullin said.

Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC

Mullin and Poole agree the Warriors could go big with their top pick. But Poole has a different center in mind. Meet USC's Onyeka Okongwu.

"There's a guy at USC -- Onyeka Okongwu -- who reminds me a lot of Bam Adebayo in Miami," Poole said. "And Bam, as we all know, Bam is the kind of guy everybody wants to have on their team."

Adebayo, 22, turned into a star this season for the Heat. In his third year as a pro, he made his first All-Star Game, averaging 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Okongwu and Adebayo both are listed as small centers at 6-9, but they also both have 7-1 wingspans.

And Okongwu knows how to stuff a stat sheet, too. He averaged 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game as a freshman.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State

The Warriors easily could decide to stay away from a big man. They already have a young one in Marquese Chriss and still believe in Kevon Looney. They also have shown they don't need a star center to win a title. 

If they continue their "small ball" philosophy, Haliburton could be the perfect choice. 

"The other guy I would consider is Haliburton, because he's a tweener," Poole said, "if you're looking for someone who can fill the gap with the loss of both Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston." 

Haliburton is listed at 6-5, and does just about everything well. As a sophomore, he averaged 15.2 points, 6.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game.

ESPN's Jonathan Givony reported Tuesday the Warriors are "high" on what Haliburton can do. His college coach also said Haliburton would be a great fit for Golden State. Perhaps the 20-year-old will be sharing the same back court as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson later this year.

[RELATED: Warriors, Kings pick versatility in latest NBA mock draft]

So ... who will it be?

Wiseman, Okongwu or Haliburton all would make the Warriors better. Any time you can add a young, talented asset, your franchise becomes stronger. 

The Warriors will have a tough decision to make, however, Poole believes they might have their eyes on his favorite big man.

"I think they'll go big," he said. "If they have a choice between my two guys, they'll go with Okongwu. He's a super athlete. In a draft where the top five, six, seven or eight guys aren't that far apart, I'm going with him."

NBA Draft 2020: Ranking Warriors' best win-now options in first round

NBA Draft 2020: Ranking Warriors' best win-now options in first round

After five years atop the NBA, the Warriors fell back to earth in a dramatic fashion in 2019-20. Golden State went from first to worst in the Western Conference standings and will not be one of the 22 NBA teams heading to Orlando for the league's restart next month.

But with Klay Thompson and Steph Curry expected to return to the lineup at 100 percent next season, the Warriors' championship window remains open. And, Golden State also will enjoy one of the few perks of having the NBA's worst record: a guaranteed top-five pick in the upcoming draft.

Plenty of intriguing prospects are available in this year's class, but some have noticeable flaws in their games that will need to be ironed out before they can become key contributors in the NBA. Given that Golden State is looking to return to title contention right away, general manager Bob Myers likely will eye a player who isn't in need of much maturation and can make an instant impact in the rotation.

We'll take a look at the Warriors' five best options when it comes to players who can immediately contribute and be counted on in a postseason game.


Warriors pick Onyeka Okongwu, Tyrell Terry in fake NBA draft, earn A-plus

Warriors pick Onyeka Okongwu, Tyrell Terry in fake NBA draft, earn A-plus

The Warriors got off to a tremendous start in the 2020 Bleacher Report NBA fantasy general manager league, pulling off a highway-robbery three-team trade that brought Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart to Golden State.

As well as the fake Warriors general manager -- Bleacher Report's Sean Jordan -- began the week, it appears he closed it in even more impressive fashion.

The 2020 NBA Mock Draft was held Saturday, and the Warriors came away with an A-plus haul.

As part of the earlier three-team trade, the Warriors dropped back from the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to No. 3. In doing so, Jordan still was able to acquire who Bleacher Report Lead NBA scout Jonathan Wasserman has ranked as the top big man in the draft -- USC's Onyeka Okongwu.

"Okongwu would be a terrific fit with Golden State for his athleticism, motor, low maintenance and defensive versatility," Wasserman wrote in giving that pick an A-plus grade. "He'd give the Warriors a rim protector who’s mobile enough to switch and run the floor for easy baskets. But he’s also developed into a skilled scorer whom the Warriors can feature in the half court, where he'll have plenty of space to operate in a lineup with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

"He’s the No. 1 big on Bleacher Report’s board, and the Warriors front office clearly had the same vision."

Jordan explained that he simply couldn't afford to pass up on all that Okongwu offers.

"Big O has as high of a ceiling as any prospect," Jordan told NBC Sports Bay Area, "Love his rim running talent in the Warriors system. Just a physical freak who has a lot of untapped potential."

The Athletic's John Hollinger recently wrote that Okongwu "would seem to be an outstanding fit" with Golden State, and clearly, Wasserman and Jordan are in agreement.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Wasserman only gave out four A-plus grades for all 60 picks of the draft. The Warriors received half of them.

Jordan entered the draft with two second-round picks, but combined them in a trade to move up to the No. 37 overall pick, which he used to select Stanford guard Tyrell Terry. Wasserman was quite impressed with that selection, as well.

"Skeptics question Terry’s lack of size and athleticism," he wrote in explaining another A-plus, "but his versatile shot-making, shooting touch and passing IQ are perfect for the Golden State roster and system."

Jordan drew a comparison to another Warriors guard in lauding Terry's abilities.

"I love his shot off the dribble, especially in transition," he said. "Legitimately has shades of Steph [Curry] minus the handle. Think there's a world where he's the best shooter in this draft and we all know how valuable that attribute is in today's NBA. Keep in mind, I already traded Jordan Poole earlier in the week in the Marcus Smart deal. I think Terry already is a better shooter than Poole. And the Warriors low-key need shooters."

[RELATED: Here are Warriors' best free-agent targets this offseason]

In total, Jordan traded away Poole, the Andre Iguodala trade exception and the No. 1, No. 48 and No. 54 overall picks for Smart, Okongwu and Terry. This, of course, is a fake exercise, but if this were to occur in reality, Warriors fans would be jumping for joy -- and rightfully so.

The winning GM is supposed to be announced Sunday. Don't be surprised if it's fake Bob Myers.