Warriors on hand to see Anthony Edwards make case for top NBA draft pick


Warriors on hand to see Anthony Edwards make case for top NBA draft pick

It's pretty obvious that the Warriors are going to have a very, very high draft pick. At 3-15, they sit alone at the bottom of the NBA standings.

With the collegiate season underway, we're beginning to get a closer look at some of the prospects rumored to be in the mix for the top of the draft. Memphis center James Wiseman entered the season as the prohibitive favorite and still might be, but the competition is heating up.

Warriors GM Bob Myers reportedly will scout both R.J. Hampton and LaMelo Ball during an upcoming trip to Australia. NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh recently argued that Hampton would make better sense for Golden State than Ball, but there might be a different wing prospect who trumps both.

If you happened to watch Monday's Maui Invitational game between Michigan State and Georgia, you already know of whom I speak.

The Bulldogs might have ended up on the losing side, but that certainly wasn't for a lack of trying on freshman Anthony Edwards' part. Just watch these clips:

In case you were wondering, the Warriors had a presence to see Edwards' standout performance firsthand:

Edwards scored 33 of his game-high 37 points in the second half alone to bring Georgia back from a 28-point deficit against the No. 3 team in the country. Listed at 6-foot-5, 225 lbs. with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, he has the size and length to play either shooting guard or small forward at the NBA level. Much like Wiseman, he would fit in perfectly with what Golden State already has:

The Warriors intend to jump back into contention following this very down year, and Edwards could be a big part of that if he's available with the Warriors' top selection.

But will he be available?

In years past, the team with the worst record in the league would have been guaranteed no worse than the No. 4 overall pick in the draft and had a 25-percent chance of receiving the first overall selection. However, that's no longer the case. With the lottery reform instituted last season, the team with the worst record is guaranteed no worse than the No. 5 overall pick, and the teams with the three worst records have an equal 14-percent chance of receiving the top selection. 

Golden State is on pace for a 14-win season right now. Yes, when All-Stars like Steph Curry and D'Angelo Russell return to the lineup, one would expect that win rate to improve ... a tad. But unless something absolutely insane happens, it's awfully difficult to envision a scenario in which the Warriors don't finish with a bottom-three record.

[RELATED: Warriors, resigned to their fate, smart to be looking ahead]

So, since there is no difference in odds to win the lottery among the teams with the worst three records, it favors Golden State if there are multiple prospects worthy of the top overall selection. Even if they don't pick at No. 1 overall, they should still end up with a premium prospect like Edwards, Wiseman or Hampton.

Steph Curry shares his thoughts on Allen Iverson's 'top five' comment

Steph Curry shares his thoughts on Allen Iverson's 'top five' comment

At NBA All-Star weekend last year, Allen Iverson told Steph Curry that he's in his "top five all day long."

Since then, Iverson repeatedly has said that the Warriors' superstar would be his point guard if he was assembling an all-time starting five.

"You know what's funny -- I have that saved on my phone," Curry told Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes on the latest episode of "All the Smoke" on Showtime (the full show will air this Thursday). "It's crazy. It's crazy, right?

"I ain't never had a big head. That dude who I picked up a lot of game and inspiration from -- he's now looking at my game ...

"Some OGs, they don't want to relinquish the praise. Same way we respect the OGs, we want it both ways. So when you do hear that, that means something."

As Steph said after Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals: "Low-key, I've always wanted to be like Allen Iverson."

It must be killing the three-time NBA champion to be sidelined with the broken left hand, especially on nights like Monday in Portland when he sat on the Warriors' bench while Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard dropped 61 points in an overtime win over the Dubs.

[RELATED: What names did Charles Barkley just call Steph and Klay?]

Now is the perfect time to remind everybody that the two-time NBA MVP averaged 36.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists against the Blazers in the 2019 Western Conference Finals, all while shooting 47 percent overall and nearly 43 percent from deep.

It's safe to assume that Iverson doesn't forget about that, and neither should you.

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Why comparing Warriors' Eric Paschall to Draymond Green should stop


Why comparing Warriors' Eric Paschall to Draymond Green should stop

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

The offseason comparisons between Warriors rookie Eric Paschall and star forward Draymond Green made sense. Both were highly successful four-year college basketball players from big-time programs that were taken in the second round of the NBA draft due to concerns of their overall athleticism and their inability to fit in to a traditional position.

Both players supposedly were too undersized to play the power forward position in the NBA, but also not quick or polished enough to be small forwards. Even their physiques had similar builds. So with all of that, comparing the two players before the season began was logical.

But it is not anymore.

The most important caveat is that Green is a three-time All-Star, a Defensive Player of the Year, three-time NBA champion and at one point, was widely considered a top-20 player in the league. Conversely, Paschall is a rookie who has not had a chance to accomplish an NBA resume yet.

Comparing both players seems silly already, and it is unfair to Paschall for creating expectations for that type of success. And yet if the side-by-side comparison is simply regarding how they play, Paschall and Green are completely different in their skillsets and approach to the game. 

On the defensive end, Draymond is one of the best help-side defenders in the modern NBA. He plays a "free safety" type role, using his unique ability to read the opponent's every move while also having the quickness and strength to counter them. Despite being just 6-foot-6, Green is elite at guarding big men in the NBA, while also having the unique ability to defend every position on the court.

Paschall, on the other hand, still is learning to play defense at the NBA level, and even with that, has shown to be more of a one-on-one defender so far. While he is more accustomed to guarding the power forward position, he has had impressive defensive moments defending "straight up" against wings, sliding his feet and using his strength to force them into tough shots.

It will take time for Paschall to develop from a good defender into the great one that many think he is capable of becoming. Regardless, his current projection does not have him playing the same defensive style as Green.

On offense, the contrast between the two is even greater. Green became one of the most unique offensive threats in the game as a great playmaker in transition and out of the pick-and-roll. His ability to push the ball full speed in the fast break and expose slow opposing big men helped pave the way for the Warriors' "Death Lineup" that revolutionized small-ball.

At his peak, Green was a 39 percent 3-point shooter, but scored most of his points on the break attacking the hoop. His elite passing ability helped him rack up assists, where he could spread the ball around to the greatest shooters of all-time surrounding him. 

[RELATED: Why Dubs are in power position with Burks at trade deadline]

While Paschall has shown glimpses of impressive playmaking talent, his real bread and butter so far in the NBA has been dominating opponents one-on-one. He is remarkably explosive jumping off two feet, and he is able to combine his great strength with unique finesse when finishing over defenders at the rim. His shooting is very inconsistent from deep, just like Draymond, but he still is refining a mid-range pull-up that keeps defenders honest.

For being only a few months into this NBA career, Paschall already has become a "throw the ball to him and clear out of the way" type talent on offense. While Paschall might never be the type of offensive quarterback like Green, he already is on his way to becoming a more dynamic scoring threat.

Draymond will continue to take Paschall under his wing and teach him the nuances of the game. But when all is said and done, the two Warriors will complement each other very nicely on the court with their own personal skills and differentiated abilities, rather than repetitive and possibly gratuitous similarities.