To trade or not to trade?
That is the question facing Bob Myers, as the Warriors’ general manager has the choice of using the team’s No. 2 overall draft pick on one of the best prospects available in this year’s class, or electing to use the selection as part of a trade to secure another quality player who can help the Warriors return to championship contention right away.
Plenty of trades have been made over the years involving the No. 2 pick, but two, in particular, give the Warriors a good and a bad example of how that trade might turn out.
For any Chicago Bulls fans happening to find this article, you’re not going to love either of these examples. But the Bulls were involved in a pair of trades including the No. 2 pick that are interesting case studies for the Warriors.
We start with the 2001 NBA Draft. Two years after making power forward Elton Brand the No. 1 overall pick, the Bulls elected to package Brand in a deal to acquire the Los Angeles Clippers’ No. 2 pick, which ended up being center Tyson Chandler. Chicago also got big man Brian Skinner in the swap. Brand had averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds in each of his first two NBA seasons in Chicago, but the Bulls wanted to reconstruct the frontcourt, also using the No. 4 pick in that draft to grab Eddy Curry.
Chandler averaged 7.1 points and 7.7 rebounds over five seasons for the Bulls, and eventually was dealt to the New Orleans Hornets. Curry was a Chicagoland native and played four seasons for the Bulls before being traded to the New York Knicks.
Meanwhile, Brand was an All-Star in his first season for the Clippers, averaging a double-double for the third-straight year. Brand spent seven seasons in Tinseltown before signing with the Philadelphia 76ers, hoping to be closer to his hometown in New York.
Putting aside how poorly managed the Clippers were until recently (good riddance Donald Sterling), LA got an All-Star caliber player for seven seasons for simply giving up the No. 2 pick and a big man averaging less than five points per game.
While a trade like that would be a win for the Warriors, our other example also reflects quite poorly on Chicago’s front office. Hindsight is 20/20, but just five years after the Brand trade debacle, Chicago entered the 2006 NBA Draft with the No. 2 overall pick. The Bulls made a smart pick, selecting Texas product LaMarcus Aldridge. But then, Chicago decided to offer Aldridge to the Portland Trail Blazers for No. 4 overall pick Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa, a former first-round pick out of Russia.
Once again, the Bulls chose the wrong big man to build around, Thomas played just four seasons in Chicago before being dealt to the Charlotte Bobcats. Khryapa played just a season and a half for the Bulls before being bought out of his contract, opting to return to play in his native Russia.
Aldridge, meanwhile, became a star in Portland, making the Western Conference All-Star team in each of his final four seasons there. Although he opted to join the San Antonio Spurs in free agency after the 2014-15 season, the Trail Blazers certainly got the better end of that deal.
Much has been made of the diminished quality in the 2020 draft class as opposed to years past, but we won’t truly know how good this class will be for a few years.
If a team out there identifies a player they need to select at No. 2, the Warriors can use these two trades as a point of reference in any potential deal.
No matter the decision, it likely will be critical in determining how successful the Warriors will be they hope to jump right back into NBA title contention. At the end of the day, the decision will rest with Myers, owner Joe Lacob and head coach Steve Kerr, who Myers wants to be an integral part of the process.