Warriors should hope these draft prospects drop to 14th pick

James Bouknight

Barring a major shock, the first four picks of the 2021 NBA Draft will be, in some order, Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs. Beyond that fearsome foursome, many pundits include Jonathan Kuminga and/or Scottie Barnes within that top tier. If any of those prospects were to slip to the No. 7 overall pick, the Warriors should have a very easy decision to make.

As for Golden State's other lottery selection, No. 14 overall, it's much more difficult to project which prospects are likely to still be on the board when the Warriors go back on the clock.

With more than a month remaining before the draft on July 29, plenty will change between now and then, but the current consensus seems to be that 3-and-D prototype Moses Moody, Australian phenom Josh Giddey, Turkish sensation Alperen Sengun, Baylor guard Davion Mitchell and the uber-athletic Keon Johnson comprise the next tier of the draft class. With possibly the exception of Johnson, who probably isn't a great fit, all of those prospects should be under consideration for the Warriors at the seventh pick. And if any of them last to 14, that would be tremendous value.

There are three other prospects who, depending on who you ask, might also be included in that tier, though they would probably all be more of a reach at seven. But again, if they're on the board at 14, the Warriors should be very pleased.


James Bouknight, Guard

Of these three prospects the Warriors should also hope drop to the 14th pick, Bouknight is probably the one that deserves the most consideration at seven. The sophomore out of UConn is a dynamic scorer who offers a blend of youth and experience that ought to be very attractive to Golden State. If he had shot better from 3-point range (29.3 percent last season), there'd be no chance of him slipping to 14, and it's worth mentioning that his percentages likely took a hit across the board due to how little offensive support he had.

It's easy to envision how Bouknight would fit in with the Warriors. He is slightly bigger and longer than Jordan Poole, and those two potentially could form a lethal scoring backcourt on the second unit. Additionally, he is advanced enough to be able to contribute from day one, which could be vital to Golden State, given that Klay Thompson might not return until December at the earliest. If the Warriors take Bouknight at seven, then clearly they're big believers in his ceiling. But if they somehow were to get him at 14, it could be the steal of the draft.

Franz Wagner, SF

Wagner does many things well, but there isn't necessarily any aspect of his game that stands out as great. At seven, the Warriors should be aiming for a higher ceiling than that, but at 14, Wagner would be a very, very solid pick. Listed at 6-foot-9, Wagner has good size and length for a 3-and-D wing, though his 3-point shot (34.3 percent as a sophomore) does seem to come and go.

Like Bouknight, Wagner would allow the Warriors to thread the needle of adding talented youth that is ready to play right away. He has an advanced understanding of how to play and where to be, and would provide Golden State with another facilitator on offense. He needs to get tougher, as there were times he was exposed against grittier defenders, which is partly why the Warriors should have better options with their first lottery pick. But at 14, Wagner's all-around package probably is too good to pass up.

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Corey Kispert, SG

The Warriors, like almost every other team in the NBA, need to add more shooting, and there probably isn't a better shooter than Kispert in the entire draft. If he were a freshman, he might not even be on the board for Golden State at seven. But he turns 23 years old in March, and as one of the oldest players in the draft, should not be in consideration for the Warriors at that pick. While it's a very enticing product, Kispert might be as close to a finished product as there is in the entire class.

So, no Kispert at seven. But at 14? Now we're talking. Kispert isn't a tremendous athlete, but he has loads of experience and few NBA players can shoot it like he can. Kispert would be a plug-and-play rookie in the mold of the Brooklyn Nets' Joe Harris, who has led the league in 3-point percentage in two of the last three seasons. He could help supplement the shooting that will be missed while Thompson remains out, and then provide Golden State with yet another lethal shooter when the Splash Brother returns. Given that the prospect the Warriors pick at seven is likely to be on the younger side, Kispert makes plenty of sense at 14.


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