There still is time, enough hours and minutes for the Warriors to find a partner they can hoodwink the way they swindled the Minnesota Timberwolves 17 months ago.
Failing that, the Warriors will settle for Plan B in the NBA draft Thursday night. They’ll make two lottery selections, No. 7 and No. 14, and then pray to the basketball gods that the rooks make them a substantially better team next season than they were last season.
Isn’t that, after all, the whole purpose of this Golden State summer? Use two premium picks -- slots they never hope to have again -- and maybe a player or two to fetch a genuine plug-in producer to make the most of the championship core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson?
If the Warriors don’t find a suitable offer on Thursday, they have to pick the best available players and hope at least one can bring immediate juice.
Here are six players expected to be available at No. 7 (and possibly at 14), listed in order of readiness for the NBA:
Like several other teams, the Warriors, really like the 6-foot-6 Oregon guard. If Duarte, 24, were four years younger, he’d be a top-five pick.
Why? He’ll enter an offense-first league with a comprehensive scoring package. His deep shooting is splendid, his off-ball movement constant, his handle acceptable, defense solid. He’s not much of a playmaker but will collect some rebounds. Duarte has a lot of Klay to his game, which is not to suggest he’s “the next” but that he brings skills similar to those Thompson had at Washington State. Of note: Thompson’s defense didn’t reach a truly high level until his third season, during which he turned ... 24.
All things considered, among those players expected to be available to the Warriors, Duarte is most ready to contribute to an NBA contender. On a 1-10 scale, he’s a 9.
The Warriors like Mitchell, too, but I don’t sense they’re quite as high on the Baylor point guard, who is 15 months younger than Duarte.
Mitchell offsets his 6-foot-1 height with relentless intensity and a sturdy physique that allows him to play bigger. He can defend all three perimeter positions and takes particular pride in it. His stock went up in his junior season, during which he took a major leap in 3-point shooting efficiency (44.7 percent, an astonishing 56.5 in the NCAA Tournament). I don’t see as much Donovan Mitchell as others do, but his two-way ability brings to mind a shorter Jrue Holiday.
NBA readiness: 8
While it’s possible Duarte or Mitchell could be available at 14, there is no chance of Bouknight slipping that far. If the Warriors, who like him, don’t take him at seven, he goes elsewhere.
The UConn shooting guard is, like Duarte, one of the purest scorers in the draft. Except Bouknight is more athletic, has a more polished handle and is three years younger. What makes him intriguing is that his ability to score at all three levels and a sheer fondness for attacking in the paint -- typical for a kid from NYC -- despite an unimposing physique. He’s still growing into his body and he’ll need some time to soak up a system, at least initially, less designed for his shot creation than playing off others.
NBA readiness: 7.5
I get the feeling that if he were 6-foot-5, the Warriors would be lukewarm on Murphy. At 6-foot-9 (in shoes), with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, he has their attention.
After spending two seasons at Rice, where he was good, he transferred to Virginia and was more efficient. His shot is gorgeous and so were his numbers as a junior: 43.3 percent from deep, 92.7 percent from the line. Moreover, Virginia coach Tony Bennett demands defense, and Murphy survived, moving into the starting lineup six games into the season and staying there. He’s more than a shooter, though. His length and athleticism make him a legit lob threat, along the lines of Hawks forward John Collins. He turned 21 last month.
NBA readiness: 7.5
The impression Moody made among the Warriors is uneven, with different observers liking him to varying degrees. It would be a mild surprise if the 6-foot-6 wing from Arkansas comes to the Bay.
He’s a good, but not tremendous athlete. He’s kind of deliberate on offense, but tends to get where he needs to go. Moody is an excellent shooter, who moves well off the ball and has a feel for the game that can’t be taught. He’s a shark insofar as he has a knack for when to attack and does so with conviction. His 7-foot-1 wingspan suggests defensive potential. He turned 19 in May, so there is the promise of vast upside. Of the NBA comps I’ve seen, Allan Houston comes closest to hitting the mark.
NBA readiness: 7
There is increasing belief that the 18-year-old Australian with an advanced sense of the overall game will have a long career in the NBA. The Warriors like him, but I can’t get a handle on exactly how much.
What’s there to like? Well, he is a 6-foot-8 point guard with the tools to initiate offense for the duration of his pro career. His passing is marvelous, his shooting unexceptional. His basketball IQ is very high, his athleticism quite low. He’s Ben Simmons (a fellow Aussie) without physical presence, a lankier Steve Nash -- but without the remarkable shooting ability. Giddey’s game, and the noise around it, reminds me of that related to a teenage prodigy entering the NBA a few years back: Ricky Rubio, who in the 2009 draft went two picks before Stephen Curry.
NBA readiness: 7