For most of the 2020-21 NBA regular season, it appeared quite likely that the Minnesota Timberwolves' top-three protected 2021 first-round pick owed to the Warriors would either result in Golden State having a chance to select one of the five premium prospects in the draft, or that pick being completely unprotected in 2022.
Well, that's (probably) not what happened.
Yes, the Warriors technically could still end up with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 draft, but the odds are extremely against it. And consequently, it's far more likely that Golden State ends up selecting somewhere between the sixth and eighth overall picks. In fact, there's a 58.9 percent chance the T-Wolves' pick lands within that range in the draft lottery.
If that's how it turns out for the Warriors, it'll be a disappointing result for them, compared to what seemed possible just a month or two ago.
That said, it's not a bad result.
Any time a team has a chance to add a promising young player, that's obviously a desirable position to be in. And if the Warriors do fall within that six-to-eight range, they should have their choice of several prospects who fit that bill.
Here are a few that should be high on their list.
Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State
Draymond Green is one of a kind. But Barnes truly might be the closest thing to him. And as Green continues to age, the Warriors have to be thinking about who eventually will fill his shoes.
Barnes, 19, did everything for Florida State as a freshman. The 6-foot-9, 227-pound forward guarded all five positions and even played some point guard, averaging 4.1 assists per game. He's a tremendous passer with great intangibles, but it's his defensive versatility that sets him apart. It's very easy to envision him fitting in with what the Warriors like to do.
Now, Barnes isn't without flaws, but then again, which 19-year-old isn't? He isn't a great shooter, which doesn't appear to be a great fit for the modern game, but it's not as if his shot is "broken." There's every reason to believe he will improve in that area.
And if there's any team that would be willing to bet on that, it might be the same team that has seen Green develop into a three-time All-Star with a very similar skill set. The idea of Green taking Barnes under his wing has to be quite enticing to the Warriors, and you can be sure it's something they'll consider throughout the draft process.
Moses Moody, SG, Arkansas
The Warriors will be elated to get Klay Thompson back next season, but they can't realistically expect him to immediately be the same player he was before missing the last two years with serious injuries. They could use some more insurance behind him, and Moses Moody might be their best way to do that in the draft.
Moody, 18, is your prototypical 3-and-D wing. At 6-foot-6 with a 7-foot wingspan, he has the size and length to guard multiple positions. On offense, he's a deft 3-point shooter, having shot 35.8 percent on 162 total attempts from beyond the arc as a freshman. He was the focal point of Arkansas' offensive attack and showcased the ability to hit difficult shots.
Moody isn't going to jump out of the gym, and his passing could use some work. But he can step in immediately as a perimeter defender and floor-spacer while refining his all-around game. With the way the NBA is trending, teams can never have enough players like Moody, and he could make an instant impact for the Warriors while also providing them with another building block.
Davion Mitchell, PG, Baylor
Jordan Poole has been a revelation, and moving forward, his best role would seem to be a combination of backup point guard and sixth man. But if the Warriors are looking to free Poole up and have someone else responsible for Steph Curry's backup minutes, they could do a lot worse than Davion Mitchell.
The standout player of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, Mitchell has been shooting up draft boards ever since. He's a phenomenal defensive player whose motor is both contagious and constant. He played both on and off the ball at Baylor, allowing him to showcase his proficiency as an initiator and outside shooter. Mitchell possesses above-average quickness and great vision. Oh, and he shot 44.7 percent from 3-point range as a junior. One could make the case he is the most NBA-ready of any prospect in the draft.
There are two sides to that coin, though. Mitchell turns 23 years old in September, so he's already much closer to a finished product than most of the other prospects Golden State likely would consider in this range. However, that might be just fine with the Warriors, who have every intention of competing for the championship next season.