Why Andrew Bogut likes NBA Draft prospects R.J. Hampton, LaMelo Ball


Why Andrew Bogut likes NBA Draft prospects R.J. Hampton, LaMelo Ball

The Warriors will need to scout the top of June's NBA draft much harder than they have in recent seasons.

Golden State entered Saturday with a 2-7 record, sitting second-to-last in the Western Conference and matching the winning percentage of the lottery-bound New York Knicks. If that pace continues, they'd likely be in a position to select one of a couple prospects currently playing against a longtime Warrior. 

Former Warriors center Andrew Bogut returned to Australia after a playoff run with Golden State last season, and his league -- the NBL -- has brought in two highly-touted American prospects ahead of their draft year: R.J. Hampton and LaMelo Ball. Hampton, who plays for the Illawarra Hawks, and Ball, who plays for the New Zealand Breakers and is the younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo, are considered consensus top-10 players in the 2020 NBA Draft. 

Bogut played against Hampton during the preseason and had high praise for the 18-year-old in a conversation with The Athletic's Ethan Strauss published Thursday. 

"I think he’s done a pretty good job," Bogut told Strauss. "I like his upside. As far as his length and athleticism, playing the point, I think he’s in that mold of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. His 3-ball’s not there yet, but he does a great job getting in the paint, he’s a willing passer and he’s very good defensively."

Bogut's Sydney Kings already have played the Breakers twice, but Ball didn't suit up in either contest. The 34-year-old has observed Ball from afar, noting that the 18-year-old's poor 3-point shooting is the only real knock on his game thus far. 

"Obviously a player who knows how to read the game well," Bogut told Strauss. "You can tell when he gets in the lane and a guy helps, he can tell exactly where the guy is helping from and where the ball should go. Unbelievable passer and playmaker. I think sometimes very flashy, both positively and negatively sometimes. That flair in playmaking, that can help and hinder at times. That comes with the territory of being a young fellow."

[RELATED: Why Stephen A. Smith thinks Steph is best leader in sports]

Though Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are under contract through 2022 and 2024, respectively, their injury absences have shown that the Warriors need to start grooming the next generation of backcourt talent behind them.

D'Angelo Russell, who scored 52 points in the Warriors' loss Friday night, could be that player, but he has been the subject of trade speculation since Golden State acquired him in a sign-and-trade last summer. Ball or Hampton, then, could be options for the Warriors if they pick high enough in the lottery.  

If they do, chances are general manager Bob Myers is going to call Bogut for some intel.

Warriors' Draymond Green out, Eric Paschall doubtful Friday vs. Jazz

Warriors' Draymond Green out, Eric Paschall doubtful Friday vs. Jazz

It's always tough to beat the Jazz in Utah, as the Warriors were reminded last month. Golden State was going to be a massive underdog Friday night as it was, and Thursday's injury report certainly won't change that.

After suffering an embarrassing home overtime loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, the Dubs will try to right the ship against Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert & Co., but they'll have to do it without at least one of their best players -- and we don't mean Steph Curry or Klay Thompson.

Draymond Green is listed as out (rest) for Friday's game at Vivint Smart Home Arena, while rookie Eric Paschall is doubtful with left hip soreness. Additionally, both Ky Bowman and Alen Smailagic are on G League assignment. 

[RELATED: Dubs' Bowman won't play vs. Jazz, will make G League debut]

With Green out and Paschall doubtful, one would expect Golden State's (relatively) healthy bigs like Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss to get some extended playing time against the Jazz.

Why Gary Payton believes Warriors' Steph Curry isn't true point guard


Why Gary Payton believes Warriors' Steph Curry isn't true point guard

You might think of Steph Curry as a point guard.

After all, he's short, brings the ball up the court sometimes and appears on the far left of those nifty starting lineup graphics prior to tip-off with PG next to his name.

But in this age of run-and-gun positionless basketball, is Curry really a point guard? Not if you ask Gary Payton.

In fact, the nine-time NBA All-Star believes there only are two true point guards left in The Association.

"That's a question that is kind of difficult for old people," Payton told NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock and Kerith Burke on the "Runnin' Plays Podcast" when asked about the best point guards in today's game. "You look at Stephen Curry. You put him as a point guard. He's not a point guard. He's a two-guard. You look at [Russell] Westbrook. He's not a point guard. He's a two-guard. You look at James Harden. He's not a point guard, he's a two-guard.

"To me, there are only two guards in this league that are true point guards. That's [Rajon] Rondo and Chris Paul. 

"Now, Chris Paul has turned into a shooting guard more, but Rondo is a true point guard," Payton continued. "He looks first to get people off. He does his defense and he makes people better around him. Not, let me score 30. Not, let me shoot a jump shot first. He's not doing that ... If we name a lot of point guards that's right now in this NBA, they are not point guards."

At least Harden can finally be in the same category as Steph, right?

[RELATED: Loss to Knicks shows Warriors have earned NBA's worst record]

While Steph might not be the prototypical point guard in the old-fashioned sense, there's no doubt he'll one day be enshrined in Springfield, Mass., as one of the greatest scoring guards in NBA history.

In any era, that's pretty, pretty good.