Warriors

NBA Draft 2019: Warriors' three biggest needs with two picks this year

NBA Draft 2019: Warriors' three biggest needs with two picks this year

The Golden State Warriors' season ended less than a week ago, but the quest to improve has just begun. 

The first order of business is selecting a prospect in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Warriors -- who currently have two picks in Thursday's draft -- are entering the night in unique peril. 

Their top two free agents -- Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant -- are expected to be out for the majority of next season, heightening the need for a rookie to make an impression right away. 

For now, here are Golden State's biggest needs entering the draft. 

Scoring 

Even if the Warriors re-sign Durant and Thompson this summer when NBA free agency begins June 30, shooting will be at a premium next season. Last season, aside from Thompson, Durant, Stephen Curry and DeMarcus Cousins, no other Warrior averaged double figures in scoring. 

In recent drafts, Warriors general manager Bob Myers has opted to prioritize defense over scoring, including Patrick McCaw in 2016 and Jacob Evans in last year's draft. Last season, the defensive-minded Evans struggled from the field as he reworked his shooting form, making just 34 percent of his shots. 

Initial reports peg Thompson out at least until March and Durant for the rest of the season, taking away 47 points per game from Golden State's offense. With that in mind, a reliable shooter should be a focus in this draft.   

Big man

With DeMarcus Cousins not expected back next season and Andrew Bogut returning to Australia, the Warriors should be in the market for a starting center. 

A year ago, the Warriors looked toward young bigs Jordan Bell, Kevon Looney and Damian Jones to compete for the starting role until Cousins recovered from a torn Achilles. While Jones won the starting role out of training camp, a torn pectoral muscle ended his regular season, forcing Bell and Looney to alternate the role. 

This summer, Looney -- Golden State's most reliable postseason big -- will enter free agency for the second consecutive season. Meanwhile, there's a chance Bell won't be back if the Warriors don't exercise his $1.8 million qualifying offer. With that in mind, a front-court addition could be welcomed.

A player who can contribute right away

Last season, Myers selected Evans with the hope that the former Cincinnati guard instantly could contribute. That didn't happen, as Evans averaged just 1.3 points, 0.8 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game last season, as he struggled through injuries and a full reconstruction of his jump shot. 

As Evans struggled, undrafted forward Alfonzo McKinnie, Quinn Cook and Shaun Livingston got the bulk of his minutes, leaving the rookie to go down to the G League for playing time. 

[RELATED: How Warriors should approach this year's draft]

While Evans remains in Golden State's plans, the Warriors will need a key contributor with Durant and Thompson out.

Warriors' Steph Curry reveals Wi-Fi name, more in wide-ranging interview

Warriors' Steph Curry reveals Wi-Fi name, more in wide-ranging interview

The game "21 Questions" could make for a less awkward first date -- and not only because your date showed up looking completely different from their photos on the app.

It's also a great way to get to know Steph Curry.

The Warriors' star guard didn't surprise us with too many of his answers during an interview with "House of Highlights" while he was on the Under Armour Basketball Asia Tour.

For starters, his all-time favorite sneakers are the Under Armour Curry 1s. And he would eat pizza for the rest of his life if he could -- with pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms. 

The two-time MVP also let the world know he pays for his own Netflix account (must be nice) and makes sure to brush his teeth as soon as he wakes up.

But ...

When asked which player gets under his skin the most, it seemed like it would probably be a current teammate of his. But, it's actually his brother Seth. Which, now that I think about it, makes sense:

Imagine having Steph be your brother and you want to do everything in your power to try to jinx him ... yeah, good luck with that.

The six-time All-Star keeps it in the family when he says his No. 30 jersey number was inspired by his dad, Dell Curry, who sported the digits across his 10-year NBA career. 

[RELATED: Curry reveals prank Dubs veteran played on him as rookie]

But the most fun and important nugget we found out during the quick interview was what the name of his Wi-Fi was.

"Spicy Curry," he said.

Nice. Very nice.

How Warriors' salary-cap expert played pivotal role in NBA free agency

How Warriors' salary-cap expert played pivotal role in NBA free agency

Few people were busier at the onset of NBA free agency than David Kelly.

Kelly, Golden State's general counsel and vice president of legal basketball affairs, serves as the team's salary-cap expert. Once Kevin Durant informed the Warriors he was going to join the Brooklyn Nets when the free-agency moratorium began on June 30, Kelly had to get to work. 

“Everything has to be in order,” Kelly told The Athletic's Marcus Thompson in a feature published Tuesday. “[Warriors general manager Bob Myers'] big thing is, ‘If you’re telling me this is right, be right. When you say it’s right, be right. I need to know that you’re on top of this.’ So you have to know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. And it’s true with this stuff even more than a lot of things because the rules, they’re not intuitive. Sometimes you wonder, ‘Why is it that you can’t use this or that?’ It doesn’t necessarily make sense. But if you trip it, that’s a wrap.”

As Thompson outlines, Kelly had to navigate the convoluted maze of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement in order to ensure the Warriors were cap-compliant. It wasn't so simple as signing-and-trading for D'Angelo Russell, re-signing Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney, adding Willie Cauley-Stein and parting ways with veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. For Kelly, the sequence of moves mattered more than the moves themselves. 

For instance, Kelly told Thompson that the Warriors could not sign second-round picks Alen Smailagić and Eric Paschall until after the Russell sign-and-trade was finished. Since both players ultimately were signed using the mid-level exception in order to retain their Bird Rights, the Warriors couldn't sign them until the Russell deal was official. The Warriors wouldn't have been able to do a sign-and-trade otherwise, which Kelly realized when dotting 'i's' and crossing 't's.'

“That was like, ‘Whoa. Wait a minute. Hold the presses. Slow everything down,’" Kelly told Thompson. "And it’s not like the deal almost blew up. But it’s a moment where, if you aren’t as diligent, that’s what happens. This is how things get screwed up. And there might have been a way to get around it. But we don’t even want to go down that road.”

[RELATED: Will Paschall be an instant contributor for Dubs next season?]

The Warriors "circled Russell as an option months earlier when mapping out the potential scenarios" in free agency, according to Thompson. The transaction that caught NBA fans off guard more than any other on the first day of free agency resulted from long-term planning and quickly came to light in part because of that planning.

But Kelly's diligence allowed it to come to fruition.