OAKLAND -- The Warriors worked out six draft hopefuls on Monday, and at least one of them fits very neatly into their desired profile.
Melvin Frazier brings the kind of tools that would make him available to play as a rookie.
A product of Tulane University, where he played under former NBA player and coach Mike Dunleavy, Frazier is a 6-foot-6, 200-pound wing, with a 7-2 wingspan and a passion for defense.
“Coming up, growing up where I come from, that’s what we do,” he said after a nearly two-hour workout at the Warriors’ downtown facility. “A lot of guys today, in this generation, don’t like to play defense. It’s just something I like to do. And I know defense is going to get me on the floor.”
Frazier, 21, generally projects to be drafted late in the first round or early in the second on Thursday. The Warriors, who pick late in the first round, 28th overall, make no attempt to conceal their interest in two-way wings.
They also want a player who, like Jordan Bell last season and Pat McCaw in 2016-17, can contribute as a rookie.
“The draft is big for us, because we just don’t have a lot of vehicles to add players, as far as financial or cap space even the non-tax payer mid-level,” general manager Bob Myers said. “Things that you’d normally have, we don’t have. We’re looking for a guy who can play, which is a little unusual. We’re going to need to have guys that can go out there and give us minutes.”
McCaw is a restricted free agent whose return is in question. The Warriors have to draft on the probability that he will get a better offer elsewhere. Moreover, they plan to replace a couple big men with big guard/small forward types capable of defending multiple positions.
“I know I can impact any team, from Day 1, with my defense,” said Frazier, who added that he doesn’t pattern his game after any particular player but “always gets the comparison of Kawhi Leonard.”
Though Frazier’s true shooting percentage as a junior last season was 63.1, with 38.5 from deep, most scouting reports are tepid about his offense but rave about his defense -- on the ball and in space. Though at least one mock draft compared him to McCaw, Frazier sets himself apart with superior length and 40-inch vertical leap.
“People know I can play defense,” he said, “so I just want to show them my offensive side, that I can shoot the ball and that my percentage is true to what it is.”
Frazier previously worked out for Atlanta, Indiana, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Portland and Utah. The Warriors, the Louisiana native said, are his final workout before the draft.
The Warriors are crossing their fingers, hoping Frazier will be an option for them.