Warriors

Warriors 're-imagining the dynasty' during down season, Joe Lacob says

Warriors 're-imagining the dynasty' during down season, Joe Lacob says

The Warriors, with their 12-43 record, are behind every team in the NBA this season. But team owner Joe Lacob still is finding ways to be "light years ahead" again. 

While Golden State is hoping to win every game, Lacob admits the front office has a lot of focus on free agency and the NBA draft. After five straight trips to the Finals, the Dubs are looking at a top draft pick this June. 

It won't be this year, but Lacob and the rest of the Warriors have their eyes on the Larry O'Brien Trophy in the very near future

“The great thing about this is we can re-imagine the next dynasty,” owner Joe Lacob told USA TODAY Sports during the NBA’s Tech Summit during All-Star weekend. “I think it’s been a good year for us to take stock with where we’re at and try to recreate.”

The Warriors traded six players before this year's NBA trade deadline. They also acquired four future second-round draft picks and a top-three protected first-round pick in 2021. Golden State's headline move was trading guard D'Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves for small forward Andrew Wiggins. 

But the cherry on top for Lacob was the 2021 pick the Warriors received from Minnesota.

"We already had a high pick in 2020 and it's not considered the greatest draft," Lacob explained to NBC Sports Bay Area's Greg Papa during Warriors Pregame Live on Feb. 10. "But 2021, considered a very good draft. So, that was the key. It wasn't about multiple picks. It was about that pick."

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The Warriors will have a high draft pick this year and likely another valuable one from the T-Wolves next year. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson both will be healthy to join Wiggins and Draymond Green again as well next season.

Much of this season is a mirage of what the Warriors will put on the floor at Chase Center in a few months. Every dynasty takes a break.

Rarely can a new one arise this quickly, but Lacob sure will try.

NBA Draft 2020: Warriors could help Anthony Edwards realize potential

NBA Draft 2020: Warriors could help Anthony Edwards realize potential

As the Warriors prepare for the 2020 NBA draft, during which they will have a lottery pick for the first time since 2012, NBC Sports Bay Area will present a twice-weekly series spotlighting two players expected to be evaluated. This is the third of a 12-part series over a six-week span.

Whether it’s scanning countless mock drafts or listening to the off-the-record opinions of various scouts or studying video, there is consensus on the merits of Anthony Edwards.

He is about as physically ready for the NBA as any teenager not named Zion Williamson can be.

It generally is accepted that Edwards, a freshman from the University of Georgia, should be one of the first three players taken in the 2020 NBA Draft. Maybe there should be an investigation if he is not.

The first question any franchise must answer properly before drafting Edwards is whether it can afford to bring him along carefully.

If not, you’re gambling.

If so, dive in and accept the challenge of developing this 18-year-old into a rotation player as a rookie, a starter by year three and an All-Star a couple years later.

The Warriors have the requisite patience and proper environment for someone like Edwards to prosper. They know coaching is a crucial factor in maximizing Edwards’ stratospheric potential, and they realize another key factor is environment. With a nine-man staff under Steve Kerr and a culture of winning, they rank high in both areas.

And they don’t sound like a team concerned about Edwards’ relative youth.

“Age has never really come into play,” Larry Harris, the team’s director of player personnel, said. “It’s an analytic component that factors into some of the decisions we make. But we’ve never looked at two guys and thought, ‘This guy is 19, and that guy is 23, and then thought 23 is going to be too old by the time we need him, so let’s pass on him.’

“Whether a guy is 18 or 19, or 22 or 23, age isn’t the primary factor.”

The primary factor is talent, and Edwards has plenty of that. There was some inconsistency, typical of a freshman but also a product of the junk defenses thrown his way on a mediocre team. The Bulldogs, under veteran coach Tom Crean, finished 16-16.

The Warriors, with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, have verified NBA shooters, which provides space for their teammates. Edwards might be visualizing buckets off open looks.

Edwards is not a deadeye shooter, but back in November he scored 33 points – draining seven 3-pointers – in the second half against a traditionally challenging Michigan State defense.

He’s not a great defender, but Edwards in the final minutes of a win over Arkansas suffocated Razorbacks guard Mason Jones, who led the SEC in scoring.

As an illustration of Edwards’ upside, he had a 15-rebound game, a seven-assist game, three four-steal games and one three-block game.

Edwards has drawn some lofty comparisons with such names as Dwyane Wade, Victor Oladipo, Donavan Mitchell and -- deep breath -- James Harden.

If you’re looking for someone with a Warriors history, the closest comparison would be Mitch Richmond, the most physical member of the franchise’s fun and fabled Run-TMC squad.

All five of these names, by the way, are attached to All-Stars, and Harden owns an MVP award.

Crean, who coached Wade at Marquette and Oladipo at Indiana, says Edwards is “absolutely” worthy of being the No. 1 overall pick.

It’s hard to find a mock draft or hear a scout’s opinion that argues otherwise.

[RELATED: Wiseman fits Warriors' biggest need right now]

Anthony Edwards profile

Position: Shooting guard/small forward

Class: Freshman

Birthdate: Aug. 5, 2001 (18)

Hometown: Atlanta

2019-20 stats: 19.1 points (40.2 percent FG, 29.4 percent 3p, 77.2 FT), 5.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists.

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 225

Wingspan:6-9

What they’re saying: “His combination of strength, speed, his pull-up jumper off the bounce -- he can just rise over people. He's an incredible player with an incredibly bright future. Having coached in that league, he's got an NBA body right now. He can dribble-drive in traffic at the next level, take contact, finish through contact. You watch a guy on film and he's really good and then you watch him live, just his explosiveness. He's got NBA athleticism and NBA strength." – Arkansas coach Eric Musselman, who spent two seasons as head coach of the Warriors and one as coach of the Kings.

Andrew Wiggins-Steph Curry duo's potential shown in Warriors NBA 2K sim

Andrew Wiggins-Steph Curry duo's potential shown in Warriors NBA 2K sim

Editor’s note: With the NBA season halted over coronavirus concerns, Warriors fans have unanswered questions about the team and how it’s building toward the future. To provide answers, NBC Sports Bay Area will simulate some previously scheduled Warriors games through NBA 2K, mixing video-game results with real-life insights for our coverage team.

Even amid the NBA season suspension due to the global coronavirus pandemic, Andrew Wiggins enters the spring as the Warriors' biggest question mark.

A former No. 1 overall draft pick, Wiggins' potential drops jaws, while his inconsistency is head-scratching. Upon arrival, the Warriors believed his ability would bode well alongside Steph Curry and the team's culture.

In a simulation of the March 28 game against the Oklahoma City Thunder using NBA 2K20, Wiggins showed promise towards that goal in a 117-110 loss.

In the digital confines, Wiggins finished with 35 points, getting most of his buckets within the flow of the Warriors' motion offense.

"I think he really fits well," Draymond Green said of Wiggins last month. "As seamless as it could possibly be, I think he can fit right in. He can score the basketball, he can run the wings, he's a pretty good defender. So I think he'll definitely fit in with this core for a long time."

Similar performances weren't as consistent during Wiggins' first four seasons in Minnesota. Wiggins didn't live up to the expectations that come with being a franchise player. His offensive inconsistency quickly drew the ire of NBA observers. Worse, Wiggins became one of the worst defenders in the league, even after he signed a five-year, $145 million contract.

Nonetheless, the Warriors saw potential in the 25-year old, trading former All-Star point guard D'Angelo Russell, along with Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman, in part to pair Wiggins with Curry. In the 2K simulation, the pairing worked, as the tandem combined for 62 points on the night.

The performance was consistent with Wiggins' lone real-world game alongside the former MVP. Against the Raptors back on March 5, the duo combined for 44 points in Curry's return from a broken left hand.

Curry's first highlight against the Raptors came with the help of his Canadian teammate, when he took a dribble in the lane, drew a double-team and fired a behind the back pass to Wiggins in the lane, leading to an easy layup, surprising Wiggins in the process.

"I didn't even know it was coming, really," Wiggins admitted after the loss to the Raptors. "I was kind of watching like it may come, but then when he went behind the back I was just trying to catch it. It was a hell of a pass."

"I'm very excited," Wiggins added. "He's an MVP player, one of the greats. He helped transition the game with his 3s and how fast he plays. So, I'm excited."

[RELATED: How Steph perform in Warriors-Hawks sim]

Wiggins' virtual performance Saturday coincided with his strong play during his short stint in the Bay Area. In his last five games, he averaged 20 points on 46 percent shooting from the field. If Wiggins continues to build on his current play, the Warriors will see the potential they've wanted all along, making for an intriguing process Wiggins says he's ready for.

"I feel like I've adjusted well," Wiggins told NBC Sports Bay Area earlier in March. "I've never played with anyone as good as him. By far, he's the best player that I've played with. Just getting a chance to learn from him and feeding off him and just learning."