A few more weeks is all they’re asking.
A few more weeks to study video, to contact individuals capable of providing background on prospects, to make comparisons among those prospects and maybe, should wishes become reality, be granted actual face time.
That’s what many NBA front offices are seeking, according to an ESPN report, as they prepare for what likely will be the least painstaking draft process in league history.
The Warriors ought to be at the front of that line, team president Bob Myers and vice president Kirk Lacob and CEO Joe Lacob all banging on the door of the league’s New York office.
For this is the most important draft of the ownership group fronted since 2010 by Lacob and co-executive chairman Peter Guber. The franchise is approaching a crossroads and the timing is right for its first lottery pick since 2012.
It’s also the first opportunity to select a projected All-Star without a single word of input from NBA legend Jerry West, who has a long history of superbly evaluating talent.
The draft scheduled for June 25 in Brooklyn almost certainly will be postponed due to the league’s calendar being obliterated by the effects of a global pandemic.
The regular-season schedule was suspended on March 11, and there is no idea when – or if – it will resume.
There is no word on whether the lottery, scheduled for May 19, will be postponed, but there is no reason to expect it will go on as planned. Conducting a lottery requires that all teams have completed their seasons, and the NBA is not expected to make such a decision this month.
Should the league cancel the final month of the regular season, the Warriors, with an NBA-worst 15-50 record, would be in prime position for the lottery.
Meanwhile, teams must continue pre-draft preparations in relative darkness. They can’t conduct private workouts, and they can’t conduct private interviews – two crucial components that typically guide the decision-making process.
The result is 30 teams participating in conceivably the riskiest draft in NBA history. And the higher the draft picks, the higher the risk.
For the Warriors, this means hiring a projected franchise cornerstone, perhaps as young as 18, while partially blindfolded.
“First off, we want to identify a talent,” assistant general manager Larry Harris says. “At least one skill that player can bring. The rest can be developed. But we want to find a transferable skill.”
Let’s be real here: Any NBA team, including the Warriors, can botch a lottery pick even when every form of evaluation is available. We know this because it happens so frequently. The Warriors in 2003 selected Mickael Pietrus seven picks ahead of David West. Mario Hezonja went eight picks ahead of Devin Booker in 2015 and, one year later, Dragan Bender went seven picks ahead of Domantas Sabonis.
Viewing from the other end, the Warriors in 2012 chose Draymond Green went 30 picks after the Kings took Thomas Robinson.
So, the Warriors know both the pitfalls and the pleasant surprises. Under these conditions, though, there can’t be too much time to evaluate. They should want more, as should the other 29 teams.