Depending on who you ask, the top tier of the 2021 NBA Draft class consists of anywhere between four to six prospects. The Warriors hold two picks in the lottery, including No. 7 overall, meaning they sit just outside of that maximum range.
If the draft itself proceeds according to current consensus, and Golden State stays put at seven, the Warriors will not have a chance to draft any of those top-tier prospects. But if that group were to expand, or if a team or two ahead of Golden State in the draft order fell head over heels for a different prospect, then the Dubs just might emerge from the draft with a major steal.
As for which of the top-tier prospects are most likely to drop to the seventh pick, two are far more realistic -- and likely -- than the others.
Jonathan Kuminga, SF/PF
Don't count on it happening, but if it does, the Warriors will jump for joy. Kuminga is everything Golden State needs. He's a big, athletic wing, capable of playing both forward spots, and theoretically could start from Day 1. He can create his own shot, and has a penchant for getting in the paint.
So why would he drop? Again, it's very unlikely, but there are a couple reasons why he might.
For one, he needs to improve his perimeter shot and shot selection. He shot just 25 percent from 3-point range for the G League Ignite last season, and all it takes is for two teams to be scared off by that for him to be available to the Warriors. Similarly, all it would take is for two other prospects to leapfrog Kuminga on the board, and there are a few who currently have the potential to do so, including ...
Scottie Barnes, SF/PF
After being included in the consensus second tier of the draft class for most of the last year, Barnes is starting to pop up higher and higher on mock drafts, and might fully establish himself in the top tier by the time the pre-draft process comes to a close. He offers tremendous positional versatility and can guard one through five. He plays with great passion and intensity, and projects as a "16-game player." In fact, in many ways, he might be the closest thing to Draymond Green we've seen in years.
If one Green is good, two is better, and there's no question that Barnes would be a great pick for Golden State. Like Green, his jumper needs to improve for him to be fully unleashed, but there are so many other ways he can help that would allow the Warriors to be fully confident in that selection. Though just 19 years old, he could contribute plenty right away.
Which other prospects might leapfrog Kuminga and/or Barnes on the draft board? There's still a long way to go until July 29, but there are a few who currently seem like the most likely to do so, including 3-and-D prototype Moses Moody, Turkish sensation Alperen Sengun and Australian phenom Josh Giddey. Or perhaps the uber-athletic Keon Johnson will see his stock soar after setting a new NBA combine record with a 48-inch max vertical jump Wednesday.
It's not that any of those prospects necessarily would be bad picks by the Warriors. But if Kuminga or Barnes still is on the board when they're on the clock, it should be a very easy decision.