Why Warriors' strategy in 2019 NBA Draft could differ from past years

Why Warriors' strategy in 2019 NBA Draft could differ from past years

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

The offseason of uncertainty has begun.

It has been quite awhile since the Warriors have had to go into an NBA draft looking to add pieces that could potentially play substantial roles on the team next season. But with the Warriors well over the salary cap and restricted from bringing in much talent from the outside, this Thursday's draft is more important than ever.

The Warriors probably will see a lot of roster turnover this offseason. Even if unrestricted free agents Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were to re-sign -- Klay is fully expected to return, while Durant is much more uncertain -- they both would not be available to play a majority, if not all, of next season after suffering major injuries. The loss of those two will leave a crater-sized hole in the Warriors' scoring ability, as the two combined to represent nearly 50 points per game in the regular season.

Their absence will also significantly hinder the team's defense, as they both played key roles in the team's ability to switch and guard any opponent. The Warriors will now have to fill the void of two starting positions, but that is not where the draft will bolster their team.

The Warriors instead will draft players to help fill the gaps in a potentially barren bench. Assuming that Andre Iguodala remains on the team next season, there is a high likelihood that he returns to the starting lineup. If Shaun Livingston were to retire or be cut from the team, Jacob Evans would be the only bench player firmly under contract next season (assuming Damian Jones returns to the starting lineup).

The team has a very inexpensive option for Alfonzo McKinnie, which would make him seem like the perfect candidate to remain on the squad. After that, the list of Warriors that are unrestricted or restricted free agents includes DeMarcus Cousins, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, Jonas Jerebko, Quinn Cook, and Andrew Bogut, who will return to Australia to play for the Sydney Kings of the NBL.

Other than Looney, whom the team values highly, it is unknown who the Warriors will attempt to bring back. A couple more names to pay close attention to are two-way players Damion Lee and Marcus Derrickson. Both players can provide highly-coveted long distance shooting, and both have developed nicely over the last year. 

So, keeping the major turnover and absences in mind, what will the Warriors look to add in the draft? The easy answer would be NBA-ready talent, most likely in the form of a wing, that can shoot from deep and play defense.

It was quite evident throughout the playoffs that the Warriors were in desperate need of spacing to allow Steph Curry and Draymond Green to feast on the opposition. The problem for the team, however, is that NBA-ready "3-and-D" wings are in high demand in today's game, and the Warriors will not make selections until the No. 28 and No. 56 picks in the draft.

More likely than not, the Warriors will have to select players that have low ceilings, but are ready to step into a game immediately and contribute in specific areas of need. If they are able to select an impressive shooter, it will probably be someone that is limited in playmaking or individual shot creation, meaning they are in the mold of pure spot-up shooters that can play adequate defense.

Look for these to be mostly four-year college players that are on the older-side of the rookie class, making them less desirable for teams building from the bottom. 

Also, don't be surprised if the Warriors buy more picks in the second round like they did to select Pat McCaw and Jordan Bell. The team needs to acquire as much talent on the cheap as possible, and selecting second-round prospects is the perfect solution, even if the players are a bit of a crapshoot.

If the Warriors mostly focus their draft sights on guards and wings that can shoot, one area that the team can effectively ignore is the center position (unless the talent is too hard to pass up). Even with the uncertainty regarding the futures of Looney and Bell, it has become apparent over the last few seasons that defense and rebounding-first front court players are easier to acquire on the free-agent veteran minimum.

Free-agent skilled shooters usually have more demand in the NBA, making them hard to sign on the cheap.

[RELATED: NBA mock draft 3.0]

When the Warriors had a fully-healthy star-studded team, the draft was largely important in that the team had a chance to pick players that they could develop and try to turn into future contributors on inexpensive deals. If the Warriors intend on competing next season, they no longer have the luxury to wait and develop players.

They will need NBA-ready players who aren't afraid of the spotlight so early in their careers. That means Bob Myers and the front office will have a tough task ahead of them Thursday.

Why Doug Gottlieb is very wrong about Draymond Green's place in NBA

Why Doug Gottlieb is very wrong about Draymond Green's place in NBA

There are bad takes, and there are unbelievably horrendous takes.

The one you are about to read is even worse.

Here is what Fox Sports' Doug Gottlieb said on his radio show Tuesday:

"Dak Prescott is Draymond Green. I don't think Dak Prescott to this point is going into the Hall of Fame. And I would say there's a better than decent chance that Draymond Green goes to the Hall of Fame -- and that's mostly because the teams that he's been on have won NBA championships.

"I think if you lined up every NBA player, Draymond Green is probably not a Top 40 guy. He's just not. In terms of his skillset, you can't put Draymond Green as one of your two best players and think to yourself, 'All right, we're gonna go to the playoffs.'

"On the other hand, with the Golden State Warriors he's been unbelievable. He brings value to them, they bring value to him. They're way better off with him than they are without him. He can guard all five positions, he can be almost like their point guard and play center defensively."

We're not gonna include what he said about the Cowboys quarterback because that would be a waste of time.

Let's just focus on the Draymond stuff, as there actually are multiple bad takes here.

First, this might sound crazy, but do you think there's a chance that part of the reason the Warriors won those championships is because, you know, Draymond was incredible?

Second, the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year is not a Top 40 player? There's no way Gottlieb actually believes this. He's clearly joking around (I apologize for taking the bait).

Third, if Draymond was the second best player on a team that featured LeBron James or Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard or Giannis Antetokounmpo or James Harden or Anthony Davis, etc. -- that franchise absolutely is thinking, 'All right, we're gonna go to the playoffs.' Duh.

Lastly, Draymond Green was the Warriors' second best/most important player in 2015-16 (if you argue it was Klay Thompson, I would respectfully disagree), and that squad won an NBA-record 73 games. The three-time All-Star averaged 14.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks, while shooting 49 percent overall and 38.8 percent from deep.

He was named All-NBA Second-Team, was runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year and finished seventh in MVP voting.

In Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Cavs, Draymond racked up 32 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists and two steals, and might have been named NBA Finals MVP if the Dubs held on to win.

Soooooooooooooooooo, yeah.

Looking ahead to next season, there will be plenty of people who pick Golden State to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, DeMarcus Cousins and Shaun Livingston are gone, and Klay is sidelined because of a torn left ACL.

[REWIND: Why you shouldn't panic about Draymond, bet big on him instead]

Draymond will be under the microscope, and assuredly will receive a fair share of the blame if the Dubs falter. Although he doesn't have anything left to prove, it's safe to assume that Draymond will use stuff like Gottlieb's take as motivation.

Mid-October can't get here soon enough.

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Why Jalen Rose believes Warriors will make the playoffs next season

Why Jalen Rose believes Warriors will make the playoffs next season

The Warriors have reached the playoffs seven straight seasons, which is the longest streak in franchise history.

And according to ESPN analyst Jalen Rose, the Dubs will make it eight consecutive appearances next season.

"They'll be in the seven seed," Rose said Wednesday morning on ESPN's morning show, Get Up. "Steph Curry probably won't play all 82 games for obvious reasons. Draymond Green is gonna be terrific this year in a contract season.

"Klay Thompson isn't playing. D'Angelo Russell is gonna supplement them very well on the offensive side. But defensively, he and Steph in the backcourt are gonna struggle against the best guards in the Western Conference."

Marcus Thompson of The Athletic recently asked Curry about "load management," and the two-time NBA MVP issued a very strong response:

“Hell nah. We’ve got a great opportunity to build something special with some hungry guys looking to prove themselves. At the end of the day, I’ve never been the type to show up with any other mindset than to do what you do — hoop."

As for Draymond -- it might not be a contract year for him after all, as he is eligible for an extension and reportedly is open to signing a new deal.

Klay is expected to return at some point, but probably not until after the All-Star break.

Russell averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists last season, and could be even better with improved talent around him.

The Warriors absolutely have a bunch of question marks and it's going to be fascinating to see how it all unfolds.

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In case you are curious, here is how Rose ranked the seeds in the West:

  1. Rockets
  2. Nuggets
  3. Clippers
  4. Blazers
  5. Lakers
  6. Jazz
  7. Warriors
  8. Spurs

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