Steph Curry needs help. The 33-year-old superstar is fighting father time and refusing to relent. It’s now on the Warriors to build a squad to support the game’s greatest shooter as he enters the final stage of his Hall of Fame career.
The Warriors are a week away from finding out whether they have two lottery picks in an outstanding draft or whether they’ll have to wait until next summer to land the Minnesota Timberwolves' top pick.
June 22 may decide the path forward for Golden State as they make the difficult decision to either run it back and hope for better health or start building out a young core for the next generation of Warriors basketball.
Will the Warriors land the Timberwolves pick? Who is available if they do? Will they keep the selection or deal it for immediate help? There are a lot of questions that need further examination.
Nuts and Bolts
Before considering what the value is for the Warriors potential top-10 selection, we have to go through some ground rules. First up, the pick is top-three protected, which means that if the lottery gods reward the Timberwolves for finishing strong and they jump from No. 6 into the first (9 percent chance), second (9.2 percent chance) or third (9.4 percent chance) position in the lottery, then Minnesota retains the selection.
There is a 9.6 percent chance that the Timberwolves pick moves up to the No. 4 spot, where the Warriors would receive the selection. There is also an 8.6 percent chance that the pick stays at No. 6, a 29.7 percent chance it falls to No. 7 and a 20.6 that it drops to No. 8.
So in simple terms, if the pick makes its way into the top 3, it’s the Timberwolves. If the pick lands at No. 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 (3.8 percent) or 10 (0.2 percent), then it goes to the Warriors. The NBA only draws for the top four selections, so there is no way for the pick to land in as the fifth overall pick.
Does the pick have value?
This is a very good draft, but it’s top-heavy. Cade Cunningham is in a tier by himself at the top, but the second tier of Jalen Suggs and Evan Mobley have All-Star potential, as does tier 2A, where Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga will be selected. As of now, there hasn’t been a player that has broken into this group of five from the next set of tiers.
If the Warriors somehow land the No. 4 overall pick, it has tremendous value. In theory, it has more value than the No. 2 overall pick that the Warriors used on James Wiseman last year. There will be teams willing to move up in this draft in hopes of landing a future star level player, although there might not be many sellers.
If the pick stays at No. 6 or slides down to No. 7, 8 or lower, the value drops tremendously. It’s still worth a good NBA veteran starter in trade, but picks 6-10 in this particular draft are slightly interchangeable. There are solid players, but many in this range are young and inexperienced players that will likely take time to develop. Scottie Barnes out of Florida State, Keon Johnson from Tennessee, Arkansas’s Moses Moody, Cory Kispert from Gonzaga and Baylor’s Davion Mitchell are all thought to be available in this range.
In addition to Minnesota’s selection, Golden State also has their own first-round pick in this year's draft, which sits at the No. 14 overall. It’s the last lottery pick, but comes with just a 0.5, 0.6, 0.6 and 0.7 percent chance of moving into the top four respectively. This pick has solid value as well and could be packaged to move up in the draft, but not substantially. It’s unlikely that any team is moving out of the top three or four spots in this year’s draft once the draft order is established.
What is the best path forward?
The Warriors are in a tough spot. They have an aging roster, but one that was vying for a ring just two years ago. They should get Klay Thompson back in the fold and there is hope that they can regain their championship swagger.
They also have a young player in Wiseman who could be a building block in the future and two potential picks in the lottery to build out a young core.
If they move to No. 4, they can get gold for the pick either in trade or just in selecting a rising star. If they are in the 6-10 range in the draft, there is still potential to move the selection for a veteran to help now.
Golden State was in a similar situation last season and mulled over the decision until the last minute before selecting Wiseman. They will have options, including packaging Wiseman, along with two first-round selections in a very good draft with the hopes of landing another star-level player.
This might be their best path to remaining competitive, but it also sets up the stage for a colossal rebuild in the near future.