Warriors

Why Jay Bilas would draft James Wiseman No. 1 if Warriors get top pick

Why Jay Bilas would draft James Wiseman No. 1 if Warriors get top pick

This might come as a surprise to many of you, but ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas is not the general manager of the Warriors.

That job belongs to Bob Myers.

But if Bilas were running Golden State's front office -- and if the Dubs were to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft -- who would he select?

"I think James Wiseman would be the pick," Bilas said Thursday on KNBR 680. "At least for me, because I think he's the best prospect. But it's pretty close. Anthony Edwards is a freak athlete and a ridiculous scorer. He just doesn't know how to play yet.

"But I'm a big believer in Wiseman and his ability. I think he could be special."

Wiseman -- the 7-footer who played only three games as a freshman at Memphis this past season -- is considered the No. 3 overall prospect by ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony.

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer has Wiseman at seventh on his big board.

"For Golden State, I have a hard time thinking it would be anybody except for James Wiseman because you think about what he could be at his best," O'Connor told NBC Sports Bay Area this week. "I would have him higher (on his board) if I was told Golden State will take him because of how much situation plays a role in the success or failure of a player.

"Wiseman in Golden State could immediately use his athletic talents as a rim-running center. As a guy who would have Draymond (Green) and Klay Thompson and Steve Kerr and veteran coaches in a winning environment really helping him on the defensive end of the floor.

"For Golden State, what a new wrinkle -- imagine adding a big center like him to your formula ... having a big body in today's league is still important. For Golden State, I'm thinking that he makes a heckuva a lot of sense."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]
 

If the Warriors get the No. 1 pick and pass on Wiseman, you can assume two things:

One, they feel comfortable with Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss. And two, they will sign a veteran big man (or two) in free agency, or acquire a center through their $17.2 million traded player exception. 

[RELATED: Warriors should pursue Giannis, but they have other options]

But if the Warriors' brain trust decides Wiseman is the guy?

"There's gonna be less demand on him," O'Connor said. "The expectations aren't gonna be there for him to have to be Rudy Gobert on the defensive end of the floor. He doesn't need to be Joel Embiid on offense ... I think they could really maximize some of his strengths."

Are there any red flags?

"The No. 1 concern with him would be his passing ability," O'Connor explained. "You think about how Golden State whips the ball around the court ... he's a good screener for a young guy, but the passing ability is not always there at a high level.

"That's the big question I would want answered above anything else -- how much can this guy fit into the fast-paced offense that requires quick decision making?"

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

Warriors' championship core still has chip on shoulders, Damion Lee says

Warriors' championship core still has chip on shoulders, Damion Lee says

When it comes to understanding what motivates the best players to become even better, Warriors guard Damion Lee has gotten a first-hand look by scanning his own locker room. 

“Steph [Curry] revolutionized the game,” Lee said on the Runnin’ Plays podcast. “But if you look at him, Klay [Thompson], Draymond [Green], a lot of guys on this team, we’re all guys that have a chip (on our shoulders).” 

Lee pointed to Curry coming out Davidson, a mid-major college in North Carolina. Draft analysts called him “undersized” and “not a finisher.” Curry was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2009 draft. 

Thompson was a skinny kid getting few looks from Pac-12 schools. Washington State, a relative no-name among basketball powerhouses like UCLA and Arizona in the conference, gave him a shot. The Warriors picked Thompson No. 11 in the 2011 draft. 

Green was a second-round draft pick. Warriors fans are familiar with the story that Green can rattle off the 34 players selected ahead of him in 2012 before he heard his name at No. 35.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Now this trio wrote their own stories, forming a dynasty with three NBA championships in four seasons. Curry is a two-time NBA MVP. Green is a Defensive Player of the Year. Thompson is among the best two-way players in the league. 

The Warriors made sure they paid these guys too, but fat checks didn’t lessen their hunger

"Some people make it in the league and get their first or second deal, then level off and be complacent," Lee said. "But everyone I’ve mentioned strives for more. We want more.” 

Lee himself was doubted, fending off insults that he’s only in the league because he’s Curry’s brother-in-law. Lee made his path through Drexel, then Louisville, then the G League, overcoming injuries along the way to finally earning a contract with the Warriors last season. 

When Lee thinks of his teammates and the desire to improve after an injury-filled 15-win season, he continues down the roster, mentioning Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, Kevon Looney, and Juan Toscano-Anderson as fighters. 

“You just have to give credit to guys who have kept that consistent chip, who want to be great,” Lee said.

[RELATED: How Wiggins won over Lee]

Lee landed on the idea of “intestinal fortitude,” the guts it takes to go beyond expectations and push yourself. 

“Having that and knowing you want more ... There’s just a spark,” Lee explained.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Steph Curry donating Breonna Taylor tribute shoes to Black Lives Matter

Steph Curry donating Breonna Taylor tribute shoes to Black Lives Matter

Warriors guard Steph Curry completed his first round of the American Century Championship golf tournament in Lake Tahoe on Friday, and did so while drawing attention to a cause that he doesn't want people to forget about. Towards the toe end of each of his golf shoes were Breonna Taylor's name and likeness.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman and EMT, died in her own home on March 13 after being shot eight times by Louisville police while executing a search warrant. Nearly four entire months have passed since that tragic day and all three officers involved have yet to be arrested, sparking outrage across the country.

Curry's choice of footwear Friday was one of the latest examples in what has been an ongoing chorus of calls for justice. And beyond that, he intends to donate the shoes to Black Lives Matter so that they may be auctioned, with all proceeds going to the organization.

"Obviously, shining a light on Breonna Taylor," Curry explained after completing his round. "Demanding and praying and wishing for justice for her and her family. Anytime you have an opportunity to be on a stage or a platform to raise awareness and continue the conversation going on in our country, I'm all for that. I'll send these to the Black Lives Matter organization and hopefully raise a lot of money for the amazing work that they're doing. 

"We all have roles to play in terms of changing the racial climate in our country, and this is definitely more than just a moment that we're feeling. This is a very small gesture, but hopefully the money goes a long way, and hopefully they continue the conversation of what needs to change all the way around."

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

While the continued search for justice for Taylor and her family clearly is of particular concern for Curry, the donation of his shoes fits in with a wonderful theme of the ACC tournament. Rather than have a purse go to the victor, all winnings will be donated to a number of charities.

Naturally, Curry was more than happy to play for those additional causes.

"Usually there's a purse to play for," Curry said, "but obviously with everything going on, the ability to come up here and play golf and know that -- I don't know what the amount is -- it's all going to worthy causes that will impact lives, and we get to do it by being out here playing golf and being on a stage, it's pretty awesome to be a part of that."

Curry is one of the most popular athletes on the planet, with a platform to match. He understands his role, and continues to do great and important things within it.