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:
Now I know why future Warriors wing Anthony Edwards is projected as the No. 2 overall pick in the draft pic.twitter.com/6i77KndiW8— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) November 26, 2019
Anthony Edwards drills the pull-up 3-pointer and Tom Crean’s reaction says it all pic.twitter.com/Ya6z2UpWYm— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) November 26, 2019
ANTHONY EDWARDS IS A MONSTER!! pic.twitter.com/y3O5uOrPrZ— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) November 26, 2019
In case you were wondering, the Warriors had a presence to see Edwards' standout performance firsthand:
Don’t worry Warriors fans — Golden State assistant GM Larry Harris is in Maui to see Anthony Edwards (the projected No. 2 overall pick) up close and personal pic.twitter.com/JkHf8fZ4as— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) November 26, 2019
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:
STEPH + KLAY + ANTHONY EDWARDS = OH MY pic.twitter.com/WdlotMUoIo— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) November 26, 2019
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.
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.