Combine results should have Dubs feeling great about draft

Scottie Barnes

We're down to one month to go until the 2021 NBA Draft, and events from the past week have offered more clarity as to how it likely will play out. The NBA Draft Combine in Chicago provided the setting for prospects to improve their stock. Many did, while others hurt their chances to varying degrees.

The fact that there even was a combine was a major positive for the Warriors in itself. Teams had much better access to prospects than they did a year ago, and the meetings, scrimmages and testing information should prove very useful in making an informed decision on July 29. But the results of that testing, as well as the accompanying pro days, were also very beneficial to Golden State in two major ways.

First and foremost, the Warriors should feel increasingly comfortable with the prospects who will be available at the No. 7 overall pick. And, relatedly, a few specific prospects who helped themselves at the combine could push more desirable players for Golden State down the board to the 14th pick.

The Warriors will not have a chance to snag one of the four prospects almost unanimously considered to be in the top tier of the draft class at the seventh pick, but it appears that a more defined second tier is forming behind it, and it is large enough that Golden State is guaranteed the opportunity to pick from within it. None of Jonathan Kuminga, Scottie Barnes, Moses Moody or James Bouknight participated in the scrimmages at the combine, but all seemed to help their cases nonetheless. 


Both Barnes and Moody measured out exceedingly well, with the former arguably testing as well as any prospect at the combine. Moody was the only one of the four who didn't hold a pro day in Chicago, and all three of those who did received positive reviews, with Bouknight, in particular, impressing scouts on hand.

At least two of those prospects are all-but-guaranteed to still be on the board at the seventh pick, and in the incredibly unlikely event that they're not, that means that two of the prospects from the top tier are. In any case, the Warriors will have their choice of at least two prospects who would be great additions to their roster, all of whom could contribute right away.

And, it's looking increasingly likely that the same scenario will occur at 14.

Tennessee guard Keon Johnson likely locked up a spot in the top 10 after his standout testing performance at the combine, in which he shattered the record for highest vertical leap. That's also good for the Warriors, as he probably isn't a great fit for them. Pair that with a couple of other prospects who reportedly are getting lottery consideration after their respective combine performances, and suddenly it's very possible that Golden State could add a prospect at 14 that it might also be considering at seven.

Virginia wing Trey Murphy reportedly opened plenty of eyes with his pro day workout, and now could get picked in the teens. Auburn big JT Thor -- who is one of the youngest players in the draft -- measured out very well and reportedly now has workouts scheduled with the New Orleans Pelicans, Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers over the next week. Those three teams hold the Nos. 10, 11 and 13 overall picks, respectively, meaning they're immediately in front of the Warriors in the draft order.

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Let's say both Johnson and Thor -- not to mention Turkish sensation Alperen Sengun -- get picked before the Warriors go on the clock at 14. Assuming the eight prospects who comprise the first two tiers are also all gone by then, that would mean at least one of Australian phenom Josh Giddey, Gonzaga sharpshooter Corey Kispert, Michigan 3-and-D wing Franz Wagner and Baylor guard Davion Mitchell would be available to the Warriors at their second lottery pick. Each of those prospects would be a great value at 14 and would fit into what Golden State is trying to accomplish in the draft.

Plenty will change over the next month, and it's possible the board could look a lot different on July 29. But as of right now, one would imagine the Warriors are feeling better and better about their draft position.


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