Warriors

NBA draft rumors: Warriors higher on Onyeka Okongwu than James Wiseman

NBA draft rumors: Warriors higher on Onyeka Okongwu than James Wiseman

Onyeka Okongwu is a 6-foot-9 big man who played his lone season of college basketball for the USC Trojans. He might end up being a top five pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Is there a chance he ends up hearing his name called before James Wiseman -- the 7-foot center who only played three games as a freshman at Memphis?

Well, as Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle writes:

Believe it or not, the Warriors are actually higher on Southern Cal’s Okongwu than James Wiseman. If they end up taking a big man in the top five, it’ll almost definitely be the 6-foot-9 Okongwu. His game is well-suited for the Warriors’ style.

Unlike Wiseman, Okongwu can shuttle between multiple positions with ease. If the Warriors get the No. 4 or 5 pick, they’ll definitely consider Okongwu.

Okongwu averaged 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 1.2 steals this season, while shooting nearly 62 percent overall and 72 percent from the free throw line.


Draft analysts are comparing the 19-year-old to the Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo, who was the No. 14 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and made a huge leap this season. The Kentucky product was named an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve, averaging 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. 


"We have a similar body, similar athleticism," Okongwu told ESPN's Mike Schmitz. "It's an honor to be compared to him."

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So what specifically does Okongwu bring to the table?

"Defense honestly. I'm defensive-minded," he explained. "I love defense over offense and I'm able to protect the rim. Run and give a lot of energy.

"Playing hard is a skillset -- I know I can bring that to a team in the NBA."

[RELATED: Why Bilas would draft Wiseman No. 1 if Dubs get top pick]

Draymond Green probably loves this answer more than anybody, and it's safe to assume the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year would enjoy playing alongside Okongwu.

As The Athletic's John Hollinger wrote recently:

Relative to his position he’s arguably the best player in this draft, and in particular would seem to be an outstanding fit with the Golden State Warriors.

It sounds like Warriors fans should start keeping tabs on Okongwu.

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NBA rumors: Warriors privately 'cool' on playing when season returns

NBA rumors: Warriors privately 'cool' on playing when season returns

To play or not to play?

That is the question facing the Warriors as the NBA nears a decision on how many teams will participate when the league resumes the 2019-20 season.

While coach Steve Kerr said the team is operating as if the season is over, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that owner Joe Lacob told his fellow owners that the team was "willing" to play if all 30 NBA teams were asked to play.

But ... Wojnarowski also reported, citing sources, that the Warriors have been "far more cool to the idea in private."

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Based on Wojnawowski's reporting from Friday, the NBA Board of Governors are expected to approve commissioner Adam Silver's proposal for a 22-team restart plan later this week, meaning the Warriors -- who hold the worst record in the league -- would not be asked to play any more games this season.

The Warriors don't have anything left to play for this season. They are the only team that has been officially eliminated from playoff contention. Does it make sense for the players to go through several weeks of training camp to play a handful of meaningless games?

"It's a hard thing to put your mind in that space, 'I'm gonna go out here and compete and bust my a-- and know in five games we're just gonna be back in the offseason again,' " Warriors star Steph Curry told former teammate Anthony Morrow recently on "The Life Podcast."

[RELATED: Warriors facility opens, players show up]

Would it be advantageous for the Warriors to get a brief look at Curry playing alongside Andrew Wiggins? Sure, but they don't need to risk injury to either player when the goal is making sure the team is ready to bounce back for the 2020-21 season.

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Steph Curry reacts to Damian Lillard's comments on 'meaningless games'

Steph Curry reacts to Damian Lillard's comments on 'meaningless games'

Damian Lillard created headlines last week with his comments about the NBA's potential plans for resuming the 2019-20 season.

"If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team," the Portland Trail Blazers star guard told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. "But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now.

"If we come back and I don't have an opportunity to make the playoffs -- I will show up to work, I'll be at practice and I'll be with my team. I'm going to do all that and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games."

What is Steph Curry's reaction to that?

"I feel what he's saying because it's hard mentally to go with this long of gap, and then prepare for games you know don't matter," the Warriors' superstar said on the "The Life Podcast" with Anthony Morrow and Justin Jack. "I get it.

"It's a hard thing to put your mind in that space, 'I'm gonna go out here and compete and bust my a-- and know in five games we're just gonna be back in the offseason again.'"

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Golden State did re-open Chase Center facilities Monday so players could work out again, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock. 

But all indications are that the Warriors won't be playing any additional games this season, and will not be included among the teams that eventually will take the court in Orlando.

[RELATED: Oakland's own Lillard rips Orlovsky for calling him spoiled]

"Between now and Thursday's vote of the board of governors on the plan to restart the season, the NBA is working to complete the details of a 22-team format," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe wrote Monday.

So for Lillard and the Blazers -- who currently sit in a three-way tie for ninth place in the Western Conference -- it appears they will get the opportunity to claw their way into the playoffs.

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