Willie Cauley-Stein discredits Chris Webber's wild Warriors prediction

Willie Cauley-Stein discredits Chris Webber's wild Warriors prediction

Injured Warriors center Willie Cauley-Stein took issue with Chris Webber's playoff predictions, and he had receipts.

WarriorsTalk's Instagram page highlighted that the "NBA on TNT" broadcaster -- and former Warrior -- predicted that Golden State would not make the playoffs this season. Cauley-Stein exposed one of Webber's old takes in the comments, noting that he predicted the Kentucky product would not be an NBA starter.

During Kentucky's run to the Final Four in 2015, Webber said that comparisons between Cauley-Stein -- then a junior with the Wildcats -- and DeAndre Jordan -- then one of the NBA's most dominant defensive big men -- were premature at best. If the thought of Cauley-Stein playing in college or Jordan dominating the league didn't date this context enough, the fact Webber made his prediction on ESPN's "Mike and Mike" just might. 

"These days in basketball, if you're a junior in basketball, and you're 7-feet and you don't average 10 points, you're telling me he could be a DeAndre Jordan?" Webber said (via SportsNation)."... There is no way in the world. He can't jump as high. ... He will not start in the league. He's a great kid, and hopefully he will have an NBA career."

Cauley-Stein ultimately started 199 of the 295 games he played in his first four NBA seasons with the Kings, and he was in line to start at center for the Warriors before a foot strain ruled him out for the entirety of training camp. He has averaged 10.1 points per game to date in his career. 

[RELATED: Why Warriors' Chase Center debut was predictably ugly loss]

As for Webber's more recent prediction, the Warriors missing the playoffs isn't out of the question, and their postseason hopes depend on how well the team manages in Klay Thompson's absence. Despite that, it's hard to envision a team led by Steph Curry, D'Angelo Russell and Draymond Green not -- at the very least -- being among the eight teams left standing in the Western Conference when the playoffs begin. 

If Webber's wrong, you know Cauley-Stein won't forget. 

NBA Draft 2020: Why Cole Anthony doesn't fit Warriors' win-now timeline

NBA Draft 2020: Why Cole Anthony doesn't fit Warriors' win-now timeline

Editor's note: 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 sixth of a 12-part series over the next six weeks.

NBA teams are continuing to take unusual steps to prep for the 2020 NBA Draft during the coronavirus pandemic. As we get closer to draft night, North Carolina guard Cole Anthony follows the trend of talent, early-entrant prospects who likely will be long-term projects.

While he averaged nearly 19 points in his lone collegiate season, Anthony shot under 40 percent for a team that finished last in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Additionally, he committed 3.5 turnovers per game, while nothing just 4.0 assists as a lead guard. Through his first nine games, he was just 6-of-21 at the rim. Along the way, he missed nearly two months after undergoing surgery to repair partially torn meniscus in his right knee.

Listen and subscribe to the Runnin' Plays Podcast

Son of longtime NBA guard Greg Anthony, Cole had a winning reputation growing up.

During his freshman year at Archbishop Molloy High School, an opposing coach called him the most skilled New York basketball player since Stephon Marbury. As a senior at storied Oak Hill Academy, he averaged 18.5 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 10.2 assists per game, becoming the first player in school history to average a triple-double. By the end of 2019, he was named Virginia's Gatorade Player of the Year and a McDonald's All-American, becoming one of the top recruits in his class.

Following a subpar year at UNC, Anthony is benefitting from a weak NBA draft class. Anthony is heralded as a great ball-handler, but his high turnover numbers seem to crush that theory. His lack of size also is an issue, which allows opposing guards to overpower him on a nightly basis. Simply put, he'd probably be better served to stay another year in college if his draft class weren't so weak.

Anthony's game follows a similar trend from other top guards in this class. Like fellow guards Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball, Anthony has shot below 30 percent from 3-point range against subpar competition. Unlike Ball and Edwards, Anthony's lack of size meals a lower ceiling for his game. Anthony has the ability to overcome his shortcomings, but it will take a dedicated staff to help the guard reach his potential.

His fit with the Warriors would also be tricky. He'd be a project upon arrival for a team still hoping to contend for titles. Historically, Golden State hasn't successfully developed players during their championship runs, with recent examples including Jordan Bell and Patrick McCaw. Bell had a strong start to his first season, before veering off his path and struggling to get on the court before he bolted to Minnesota last summer. McCaw also regressed in his second season after looking like a consistent contributor as a rookie.

Aside from Draymond Green, only Kevon Looney has been a consistent homegrown draft pick for the Warriors in the postseason since 2015. Last season, rookies Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall showed promise in the final months of the year, but that was for a team not expected to play well into June. For a team with Finals aspirations, Anthony may not be fit for the future iteration of the Warriors.

[RELATED: Ranking Warriors' NBA Finals teams since move to Bay Area]

Cole Anthony profile

Position: Point Guard
Class: Freshman
Birthdate: May 15, 2000 (19 years old)
Hometown: New York, NY
2019-20 season averages: 18.5 points (38.0 percent FG, 34.8 percent 3-point, 75.0 percent FT), 5.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.3 steals.
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 190
Wingspan: 6-foot-3.5
What they’re saying:  “Basketball is what he loves and I mean loves. Capitalize every single one of those letters. He’s going to blow people away in the individual workouts and his commitment to the game, his commitment to being a better player and his commitment to his vocation in there is where very few people have ever had it." - North Carolina coach Roy Williams

Ranking Warriors' NBA Finals teams, best to worst, since Bay Area move


Ranking Warriors' NBA Finals teams, best to worst, since Bay Area move

The Warriors moved to the Bay Area from Philadelphia in 1962, reaching an apex in the last five years.

Golden State appeared in five consecutive NBA Finals from 2015 through 2019, and that total eclipsed the Warriors' Finals appearances from the previous half-century. Eight teams have played for a championship since the Warriors moved to the Bay Area. Four won titles, four did not.

But which of those eight teams is the best?

Basketball has changed just a bit since the Warriors first called the Bay Area home, so don't take these rankings to mean that, say, any of Rick Barry's teams would beat Steph Curry's. Rankings based on anything but record are an inexact-at-best science, but standing within their era and season as well as how their accomplishments stand in the Warriors and NBA's wider history are given significant weight.

So, let's rank all eight teams from worst to best under those criteria, starting with a squad that lost a title to an ex-Warrior.