With the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery approaching shortly on June 22, the Warriors anxiously wait to see what their future holds. A monumental puzzle piece will be decided that day, when the Warriors find out just what will materialize with the Minnesota Timberwolves' top-three protected draft pick Golden State acquired in the D'Angelo Russell-Andrew Wiggins trade.
Simply, if the lottery shakes out with Minneosta picking in the first three slots of the upcoming draft, then the Warriors will instead acquire the Wolves' 2022 unprotected pick. If the Minnesota slot falls anywhere between picks four through 10, then it goes to the Warriors.
The odds of the different scenarios playing out are as follows:
The chances of the T-Wolves' pick landing No. 1 overall is 9 percent, No. 2 at 9.2 percent, and No. 3 at 9.4 percent. So there is about a 29-percent chance that the Warriors will not land the pick this year.
If the Warriors were to be given the pick, the chances of the No. 4 overall selection is 9.6 percent. They do not have any chance at the No. 5 pick, followed by the No. 6 pick at 8.6 percent, No. 7 pick at 29.7 percent, No. 8 pick at 20.6 percent, No. 9 pick at 3.8 percent and No. 10 pick at 0.2 percent.
It would be a dream scenario for the Warriors if they were to acquire the fourth pick as the top five prospects in this year's draft are supposed to be can't-miss future stars.
However, when all is said and done, the Warriors' best chances to land Minnesota's pick this year lies in the No. 7 and No. 8 slots, which combines for about a 50 percent chance of materializing.
Which begs the question: Should the Warriors be happy to land the pick if it fell in that later range this year, or should they hope instead that the pick moves to next year's draft when it has the chance to land at the very top?
To me, the Warriors absolutely want the pick this year. It does not matter where it lands.
The biggest reason is simply in regards to Steph Curry and the Warriors core's window of contention. Golden State needs all the assets it can get, and if the most-likely percentages play out, the Warriors likely would end up with the No. 7 and No. 14 picks (their own) in the draft.
With those picks, the Warriors can either draft prospects who can help now, or in a better scenario, use those pieces as trade bait to get more established players now. It is hard to see a situation where the Warriors go into next season with the need to develop James Wiseman, and two more top picks. The Warriors would have to really perfect their roster in all other available spots if they did so. So a trade would make the most sense.
There also is no guarantee that Minnesota's pick next year would be much better.
The T-Wolves won nine of their last 16 games to close out the season, which is a far cry from an elite team, but a clear sign of a squad that was starting to realize their potential. Last year's No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards hit his stride as he gained experience throughout this season, and averaged 24 points per game over his last 34. There is reason to believe Edwards will keep improving next season.
Keep in mind, if the T-Wolves' pick were to remain in their hands, that would mean they would have a top-three selection in a very loaded draft. They could use that pick to select a future star, or more significantly for this discussion, they could use it as a trade asset to acquire a proven star and become that much better next season.
The Warriors need to capitalize on Curry playing his best, and that means going for it now. Acquiring the T-Wolves' pick this season would help get there.