The 2021 NBA Draft is less than a week away.
With the Warriors owning the No. 7 and No. 14 picks in the draft, what president of basketball operations Bob Myers and Co. choose to do with their two lottery selections are the talk of the basketball world.
Will they take two rookies, or will they trade one or both of the picks to help build a win-now team around aging stars Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green?
On the latest "Dubs Talk" podcast, NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole, Kendra Andrews and Grant Liffmann all gave their predictions for what they think the Warriors will do with their two picks (assuming there is no trade).
Here's what they predicted:
No. 7: Moses Moody or James Bouknight
If the Warriors were drafting first overall, they’d select Cade Cunningham and then sit by their phones. At No. 7, they’ll be on their phones – as they’ve been for weeks. If no appealing trade materializes, they get to choose between Moses Moody and James Bouknight, each of whom has fans within Golden State evaluators.
My guess is that the Moody faction will post a narrow victory over the Bouknight faction. Though Bouknight is the better scorer, Moody profiles as a slightly better fit within the team concept. He’s rangier, has a nice shot, is a willing passer, feels the game at both ends and – Steve Kerr would love this – is a great cutter.
If both Moody and Bouknight are available and the Warriors draft someone else, I’d anticipate a trade, probably on draft night. Honestly, I don’t believe drafting Moody or Bouknight would preclude the possibility of a deal.
No. 14: Chris Duarte
Chris Duarte has a fan club inside the Warriors’ organization. Don’t know exactly how many members, but the feeling I get is that it’s a formidable group. I also happen to like what he brings: a knack for scoring, an innate intensity and a gargantuan chip on his shoulder. Duarte shares the last attribute the team’s core, as Curry, Thompson and Green all entered the league determined to prove they were for real.
If Duarte were 20, he’d go higher. I get the sense that the Warriors won’t hold his “advanced” age (24) against him.
No. 7: James Bouknight
If James Bouknight is available by the time the Warriors are on the clock, he would be a good pick for the team. He's fearless in the paint, can use either hand and has relentless off-ball movement and would provide Golden State with instant offense. Bouknight also has room to grow -- both on defense (where right now he might be a liability) and on offense -- suggesting he could be part of the Warriors' future as well.
No. 14: Corey Kispert
I'll let Grant boast about Duarte, who I also think would be a solid choice for the Warriors at No. 14, and instead talk about another option: my fellow Zag, Corey Kispert. Kispert is considered to be the best 3-point shooter in this year's draft -- a trait the Warriors love to have -- and uses his size and athleticism to fight his way through defenders to get to his spot.
Kispert spent four years at Gonzaga, a trait people might use against him. But for the Warriors' current timeline, having four years of experience -- particularly at the level he did at Gonzaga -- could work in their favor.
No. 7: James Bouknight or Jonathan Kuminga
Assuming the first five to be drafted are Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs and Scottie Barnes, I believe the Warriors will, or should, take whomever of Bouknight or Kuminga are not selected by the Thunder No. 6.
Bouknight is a bucket-getter and can take players off the dribble and explode to the rim. If his shot develops as many expect it will, and he can become a better shot creator for others, then Bouknight will be the exact offensive weapon the Warriors will need in the future. It is unlikely he will be able to help significantly as soon as next year, but perhaps he will blossom sooner than most rookies do.
As for Kuminga, he is a long-term project who is very raw, but has tools that could elevate him to All-Star status down the road. Since most rookies do not help for contending teams in their first year anyway, the Warriors should draft the best player available and someone that could also be a potential trade asset down the road if need be.
Even if they need to stash him in the G League for the season to get better, he is worth the risk.
No. 14: Chris Duarte
If you listen to Dubs Talk or follow me on Twitter, you would know for many months now I have been exceptionally high on Duarte. He is as NBA-ready as any prospect in the league, and for the Warriors' situation, I actually think his advanced age of 24 entering his rookie season should actually be seen as a positive.
The 6-foot-6 wing performs his best when the bright lights are on, and plays with a chip on his shoulder and an edge that should thrive in the NBA. Even if his role is to simply stand outside and space the floor, Duarte should excel in that position as he is one of the most accomplished and mechanically sound shooters in the draft.
While he is not a premier one-on-one defender, and may never be, he has shown the ability to play smart team defense, and should only get better in that regard.