Finding second-round gems even harder for Warriors this year

/ by Marcus White
Presented By Wendy’s

The Warriors have two second-round picks in next week's NBA draft, No. 48 and No. 51 overall, and only one player taken in either of those slots over the last decade played meaningful playoff minutes last season.

Monte Morris, the No. 51 pick by the Denver Nuggets in 2017, averaged 9.1 points in over 21 minutes per game off the bench during Denver's run to the Western Conference finals. Morris is a pretty massive outlier among players drafted in either of the spots Golden State is slotted in the second round.

It's too early to judge Terrence Mann and Tremont Waters, the No. 48 and No. 51 picks last year, but the players who preceded them in those positions last decade -- aside from Morris -- didn't exactly stand out.

Of the 20 players drafted No. 48 or No. 51 overall from 2010 through '19:

  • Six haven't played in an NBA game (Tony Carr, selected No. 51 in 2018, did play in the G League last season, however).
  • Two more played just three NBA games.
  • All but three (Morris, Ryan Kelly and Sindarius Thornwell) have yet to play at least 100 NBA games. Keita Bates-Diop, the 48th pick in 2018, needs to play just 26 more.
  • None have played 200 NBA games.

Value can be and has been found that late in the draft, but it was a crapshoot before the global coronavirus pandemic completely disrupted the pre-draft process.

It's even more of one now.

"[We'd normally] have 30 guys come in for those picks," Warriors general manager and president of basketball operations Bob Myers told reporters in a video conference Wednesday. "We've had zero. Obviously, we've had zero guys come in for any pick."

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The Warriors found second-round gold drafting Eric Paschall in 2019 (No. 41 overall) and Draymond Green in 2012 (No. 35 overall), but neither player was selected as late as Golden State is set to next week. Finding value is difficult under normal circumstances, but the Warriors will have less information to draw from on any potential hidden gems.


Along with every other NBA team, the Warriors are limited to 10 in-person visits with prospects leading up to the draft. They can visit with a prospect twice, but those count separately and they aren't allowed to hold the group or individual workouts in their own facilities that are customary during draft season.

The draft originally was scheduled for June, but more time hasn't meant more tape for collegiate prospects, whose seasons ended in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. No visits to team facilities mean no medical visits with team doctors, whom Myers said normally would run players through a physical and, as necessary, a follow-up MRI or X-ray.

Myers stressed that he wasn't criticizing the league, noting instead that the reality of a pandemic that has upended every aspect of society has made the Warriors' work ahead of the draft "more challenging."

"People may not understand it, but it's a big advantage to do it in your facility if you can, and again, I'm not pushing back on the NBA," Myers said. "I understand why the process went the way it did. It's totally fine. Everybody is doing the best they can. But when you're in your facility you can kind of navigate and build out a workout specific. Like I said, you can really do it on your terms, do it in your environment."

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With additional lead time but not much additional information about this year's draft class, the Warriors will be hard-pressed to select a second-rounder who can contribute as much as Green or Paschall did as rookies (and, in Green's case, beyond), let alone two.

Not that they're trying to.

The No. 2 pick is the potentially franchise-altering priority. Myers said the Warriors "probably" will draft "a couple" players, leaving open the possibility Golden State stashes one of its second-round picks overseas or in the G League on a two-way contract. He also said Golden State might not even use both of its second-rounders, admitting the Warriors want to add "some older voices" as depth in free agency.

None of those approaches would've surprised had the draft carried on as normal, considering how difficult it is to even find role players so late in the second round. But in a year that's anything but normal, that's a harder proposition.