With the Warriors holding two lottery picks -- No. 7 and No. 14 -- for the first time in 20 years, they’re hip-deep into evaluating collegians and young pros from abroad.
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, who has been observing and assessing NCAA talent for two decades, likes their position. Actually, he loves it.
“This is one of the deepest drafts -- if not the deepest -- since I’ve been doing this for ESPN,” he told NBC Sports Bay Area this week. “There’s a really remarkable level of talent.”
The general belief is that five players have separated themselves from the pack, making it unlikely any of them will be on the board when the Warriors make their first selection -- should they not trade it beforehand.
“At that spot (No. 7), Scottie Barnes from Florida State could still be there,” Bilas says. “Davion Mitchell from Baylor could still be there. Jonathan Kuminga from the G League. There’s going to be great talent at that spot.”
Barnes, a 6-foot-7 forward with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, is considered one of the top two-way players available. Versatile enough to guard at least four positions, that most consider him a hair below the top five is attributed to an average outside shooter. He is most often compared to Draymond Green.
Mitchell is a 6-foot-2 point guard with the ability to create his own shot. He also has solid two-way skills, though he shines brightest on defense. He has been compared to Donovan Mitchell, Jrue Holiday and Marcus Smart.
Kuminga, a 6-foot-8 forward, appears to be the best athlete of the three, which is why many observers place his status at the bottom of the top five. Only 18, he’s the least polished of the three players mentioned by Bilas, but the Danny Granger comparisons are tempting.
Bilas made it clear that he’s offering opinions, not advice. Citing history, he believes the Warriors have shown they don’t need his input.
“If I remember right, the last time they had No. 7, they got Steph Curry,” he said. “And Klay Thompson was probably the 11th pick, if I remember right. And Draymond Green they got in the second round.
“I think the Warriors know what they’re doing.”
The draft is a little more than a month away (July 29), but it will take years before any draft-night decisions can be fairly gauged.