Warriors

Pelicans see Zion Williamson as 'extremely athletic' Draymond Green

Pelicans see Zion Williamson as 'extremely athletic' Draymond Green

Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin knows what Draymond Green is capable of all too well, having been the general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers for three of their four NBA Finals encounters against the Warriors.

Griffin was hired by New Orleans at the conclusion of the 2018-19 regular-season, and as his biggest move thus far, he selected Duke's Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Williamson was widely expected to be the top selection, having been a constant presence on internet highlight reels for several years now. Chances are, you've probably seen a clip of him doing some kind of windmill, 360-dunk, or jumping out from the paint to the perimeter to block a 3-pointer.

He's an athletic freak, plain and simple -- at 6-foot-7, 285 lbs.

Green won't be doing those same athletic feats on a nightly basis, but nonetheless, Griffin believes there are plenty of similarities between Williamson and Golden State's power forward, and not just physical ones.

"The thing about Zion, though, that excites us is, it's not that he's going to carry you offensively, it's that he's going to be able to facilitate offense," Griffin told Jeff Duncan of The Athletic. "If you look at him as an extremely athletic Draymond Green type who may be able to facilitate all things for others and get out in transition and make plays ... that's exciting. And because that's what he natively really does, we're not going to ask him to carry an undue burden (offensively). We're going to ask him to be Zion, to figure out how that player interfaces with the rest of the pieces we have and how it can be equative to winning."

Green has the fourth-highest individual winning percentage in NBA history behind Kawhi Leonard, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, so if the Pelicans want to turn Williamson into a winning player, they couldn't do much better in terms of someone to model him after.

[RELATED: Iguodala explains why Draymond is adored by his teammates]

The fact that New Orleans believes Williamson can become a Draymond-like facilitator on top of all of his Adonis-like physical traits undoubtedly played a role in their decision to make him the No. 1 overall pick. Of course, the fact that the Pelicans are envisioning him playing like Draymond makes Green slipping all the way to the No. 35 overall pick in his draft that much tougher to explain.

Why James Wiseman is, is not a perfect fit for Warriors in NBA Draft

Why James Wiseman is, is not a perfect fit for Warriors in NBA Draft

It's been a long time since the Warriors have had to worry about pick at the top of the NBA Draft.

But, barring a miraculous turnaround, that's exactly what Bob Myers and his staff find themselves thinking about midway through January.

The Warriors enter the weekend with the worst record in the NBA and appear set to land one of the top overall picks in the draft on June 25.

Assuming the Warriors land one of the top three picks in the draft, there are three names that have been tied to Golden State: Center James Wiseman and wings Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball.

NBC Sports college basketball writer Rob Dauster explained to NBC Sports Bay Area this week why he believes Wiseman should be the pick for the Warriors.

"I think in an ideal world, if you can get a top-three pick, and you end up getting James Wiseman, that's the perfect fit for this Golden State team," Dauster said. "You look at the players they've run through at the [center position], whether it's Kevon Looney, whether it's Damian Jones, anybody that they've brought in, they are looking for that guy that can be that athletic center, that can be switchable defensively, that's gonna be able to block some shots, that can rebound the ball, that can run in transition and James Wiseman is the guy that makes the most sense to me.

"He's 7-foot, he's got a 7-foot-6 wingspan, he's got all the tools to be a really good defender at the NBA level and I think he has a developing offensive skill set that should allow him to space the floor a little bit.

Dauster did add a bit of caution with Wiseman. The 18-year-old began his college career at Memphis, but was ruled ineligible on Nov. 14. In the summer of 2017, Memphis coach Penny Hardaway paid $11.500 to help Wiseman's family move from Nashville, Tenn. to Memphis.

A little over a month later, Wiseman decided to leave Memphis and declared for the NBA Draft. He ended up playing in just three games for the Tigers.

"Now, the thing about Wiseman is that there are always questions about his competitiveness and whether or not he loves basketball," Dauster said. "Of all the red flags you see come along with big guys that kind of loff their way through high school and loff their way through college a little bit, and it hasn't been helped by the fact that he basically quit on his Memphis team earlier this month. There are red flags involved with him, but if you have a guy with competitiveness issues, I think the absolutely perfect fit for him would be to put him in a locker room with guys like Draymond Green and Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. You're not going to be able to loff when you have those guys to answer to after every single practice and after every game.

The other issue Dauster brought up is the Warriors' window to compete for an NBA championship. Assuming Curry and Thompson are healthy to begin the 2020-21 season, most experts feel the Warriors will return to the top of the Western Conference standings. But Wiseman might not be ready to compete at that level, according to Dauster.

"Now, the problem there is, Wiseman to me, is probably two or three years from really becoming the guy that you want him to be when you're drafting him and I don't know if you have a two or three year window with this crop of players," Dauster said. "How long is Steph Curry going to be at his peak? How long is Klay Thompson going to be at his peak? Have those guys already crossed that threshold and now on the downside of their careers? So the big question to me is, if you want to use this pick on James Wiseman, are you doing it knowing that you have a year or two before he becomes the guy that can impact the game the way you want him to impact a game?"

[RELATED: Players Warriors could take at No. 2]

The Warriors will have a big decision on their hands come June. Of course, they could package the draft pick with D'Angelo Russell and bring in an All-Star caliber NBA player.

The options for the Warriors are unlimited. Wiseman will surely garner consideration from the Warriors. But they must do their homework and make sure he's the right fit.

Quakes' Tommy Thompson challenges Steph Curry after making tunnel shot

Quakes' Tommy Thompson challenges Steph Curry after making tunnel shot

During the Warriors' final years at Oracle Arena, Steph Curry capped off his pregame routine with a tunnel shot.

It became a must-see event for anyone attending a Warriors game.

But due to the different layout of Chase Center in San Francisco, Curry had to adjust his tunnel shot. Now the shot has a higher degree of difficulty. He almost made the shot before the regular-season opener against the Clippers.

Curry hasn't been able to try the trick shot for a few months because of his broken left hand, but when he returns, he has some work to do.

This week, San Jose Earthquakes defender Tommy Thompson joined the Harlem Globetrotters for an event at Chase Center and made Curry's trick shot ... with a twist.

After kicking in the tunnel shot, Thompson challenged Curry.

"Can you make that, though?" Thompson said.

Curry has yet to respond to Thompson on Twitter or Instagram, but we're sure he'll have a response once he returns to game action.

[RELATED: Neymar starstruck by Steph]

Curry is a wizard when it comes to trick shots, but even this might be tough for him to replicate.

Good luck, Steph.