Warriors

2020 NBA Draft sleepers: Josh Green could be two-way wing Warriors covet

2020 NBA Draft sleepers: Josh Green could be two-way wing Warriors covet

Editor's note: As the Warriors prepare for the 2020 NBA draft, NBC Sports Bay Area will present a twice-weekly series spotlighting two “Sleepers” likely to be evaluated. This is the second of a 12-part series on intriguing prospects considered risky to select among the top 10.
 
The Warriors have selected their share of late draft projects in recent years. Draymond Green (No. 35 overall in 2012), Kevon Looney (No. 30 in 2015) and Eric Paschall (No. 41 in 2019) have become key contributors while being selected outside the lottery.
 
The "sleeper" distinction fits Arizona freshman swingman Josh Green. Green has the frame (6-foot-6) to be the kind of long defender that Warriors coach Steve Kerr covets. If he improves his jumper, Green could develop into the "3-and-D" wing they hoped recent picks Patrick McCaw, Jacob Evans and -- most recently -- Jordan Poole would.
 
Green grew up in a basketball family. His parents, Cahla and Delmas, played pro hoops in Australia and his brother Jay currently plays college hoops at Northern Arizona. After an impressive prep career in his homeland, Josh moved to Arizona and became a star at Mountain Ridge High School. Green later matured into a five-star prospect at IMG Academy in Florida.
 
His wingspan (6-foot-10), athleticism and defensive prowess are his biggest strengths. Green posted a 93.3 defensive rating, while showcasing some offensive promise as he averaged 12.0 points per game.

The 19-year-old struggled to create his own shot and needs to improve his game off the dribble, especially in the pick and roll. The Warriors won't ask him to be a primary ballhandler in an offense with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, though, and he made 36.1 percent of his 3-pointers at Arizona.
 
Green could be an intriguing prospect for the Warriors if they trade back out of the lottery. He could be the young, two-way wing they've been searching for, and recent history suggests that Golden State can mold Green in its system. Poole and Paschall flourished down the stretch before the NBA suspended its season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and Green has the potential to do the same.

[RELATED: Klay pinpoints biggest challenge of rehab from torn ACL]

Josh Green profile

Position: Shooting guard
Class: Freshman
Birthdate: Nov. 16, 2000 (19 years old)
Hometown: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
2019-20 season averages: 12.0 points (42.4 percent field goals, 36.1 percent on 3-pointers, 78.0 percent on free throws), 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.5 steals.
Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 200
Wingspan: 6-10
What they’re saying: “I think the reason that he’s such a terrific player is his versatility. He brings so many different things to a game. He can guard a variety of players. We keep track of deflections and he leads our team in deflections. He can get a big steal, shot block. In transition, if he’s not our best overall player in transition, he’s one of them. And the thing about him is he can both finish and he also he’s had some of our best passes in transition. Offensively, being able to drive the ball and get to the foul line and drive the ball and score, I think he’s one of our best if not our best in that area.” -- Arizona coach Sean Miller

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

Giannis Antetokounmpo recruitment still gives Bucks GM 'zero' worries

Giannis Antetokounmpo recruitment still gives Bucks GM 'zero' worries

There are strict rules within the NBA's Orlando bubble, with social distancing being highly emphasized. That doesn't change the fact that there are hundreds of players in close quarters. 

Recruiting, better known as tampering, could be at an all-time. But Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst isn't worried when it comes to his superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

"Zero," Horst said, via ESPN's Eric Woodyard, when asked about his worries when it comes to Giannis being recruited. "We can only control what we can control. If it's considered tampering or recruiting or whatever it is, in our league people talk, people are connected, people have relationships.

"At the end of the day, I have full confidence in my personal relationship, our league's relationship, our coach's relationship, his teammate's relationship with Giannis in what we're doing and what we're about."

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

Antetokounmpo, 25, isn't a free agent until after next season, but he is eligible for a supermax contract worth over $250 million at the conclusion of this season. If the Bucks do offer him that megadeal and he turns it down, it might be time to move on and see what the Bucks can receive in a blockbuster trade.

One team that won't be in close quarters to Giannis is the Warriors, who aren't a part of the NBA's restart. The 2019 NBA MVP has a close relationship with Golden State star Steph Curry and rumors have run rampant of Antetokounmpo becoming the next star in San Francisco. In the blink of an eye, the Warriors could go from Kevin Durant to Giannis as Steph's newest co-star. 

[RELATED: How Steph feels about Dubs playing in second NBA bubble]

Winning a championship obviously would help the Bucks' chance of keeping Giannis in Milwaukee, and he would cost a whole lot for the Warriors. Golden State likely would have to get rid of Klay Thompson and much more, but Antetokounmpo is a truly rare talent who hasn't even come close to his ceiling. With a plethora of draft picks and coveted players, the Warriors might have the best trade package for Giannis, and it won't come cheap.

For now, though, Horst isn't shaking at the knees by any means. He's focused on a championship, and has every right to believe Giannis will be a Buck for a long, long time.

Sabrina Ionescu channels Steph Curry with half-court shot, shimmy celebration

Sabrina Ionescu channels Steph Curry with half-court shot, shimmy celebration

Sabrina Ionescu has been chomping at the bit to get back on the court.

The Walnut Creek native had her historic college career at Oregon abruptly ended due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the WNBA season also was push back. But Ionescu, who was drafted No. 1 overall by the New York Liberty, is slated to make her professional debut July 25 against the Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and the Seattle Storm as the WNBA prepares to begin its season.

The quarantine hasn't made Ionescu rusty as the WNBA posted a video of the Oregon product channeling her inner Steph Curry by hitting a half-court shot and then celebrating with a shimmy.

Of course, the Warriors liked what they saw.

Ionescu has become close with Curry over the past year, a relationship that's great for the future growth of the women's game around the world. Curry even tried to get Ionescu to sign a shoe deal with Under Amour, but Ducks are ever-loyal to The Swoosh, and Ionescu signed with Nike.

[RELATED: Ionescu's legacy can transcend WNBA, end of Oregon career]

Ionescu finished her illustrious career at Oregon as the only player in Division I history, men's or women's, to record 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds. She swept the National Player of the Year Awards and finished her career as the all-time NCAA triple-doubles leader. Her presence at Oregon altered the trajectory of an Oregon program that had been lackluster before her arrival. Now, coach Kelly Graves has the Ducks humming on the recruiting trail and Ionescu's Oregon legacy will be felt for decades.

Her college career in the rearview, Ionescu now will turn her attention to helping turn around the Liberty, who went 10-24 last season and will be without rising star Asia Durr, who tested positive for coronavirus.

The Liberty will be Ionescu's show, and there's no doubt Curry will be watching.

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