OAKLAND -- It is as observers that the Warriors enter the 2017 NBA Draft. They have no pick. The Warriors being the Warriors, though, they will be so active in their observation that they may not be able to resist participating.
Given their bonanza experience last June, why wouldn’t they dive in?
After using their only pick to select Vanderbilt center Damian Jones in the first round, the Warriors continued to watch the draft unfold, keeping one eye on their draft board and another on the players being chosen, and by which teams.
When it came time for the Bucks to make their second-round selection, 38th overall, the Warriors struck. A player they wanted was still on the board, and they were willing to give Milwaukee $2.4 million purchase the pick.
That’s how the Warriors landed UNLV product Pat McCaw, who started 20 games last season and became one of only three second-round picks to make a name for himself as a rookie.
There is a McCaw or three in every draft, which is why the Warriors, even without a single pick, have brought in 18 players for workouts and will be on the job Thursday night when the 2017 draft takes place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“We don’t have a draft pick,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said this week, “but we’re acting as if we do.”
Myers and his staff have spent the past few days scouring video and watching players brought in for workouts. They again created a board of players they like, with the letter “B,” in red, next to certain names.
B for the word: buy, as in plucking dollars from the coffers of owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.
“There are guys we would buy a pick for,” Myers said, gesturing from the gym floor toward the draft room at the team facility. “If you snuck in there, it would be fun to see.”
McCaw, it can be discerned, once had a red B next to his name. The Warriors were surprised he was able to contribute immediately.
“Luckily, to be honest, to have an owner that’s as aggressive as Joe is, and an ownership group that’s willing to spend on a pick, Patrick McCaw is actually a success story in that way,” Myers said. “We haven’t gotten it right every time; there are times we bought a pick and it didn’t work out.
“But our methodology is to try and do that, especially in a year when we don’t have one.”
The Warriors go into this draft without a couple voices that have been influential in previous personnel choices. Former assistant GM Travis Schlenk last month accepted the GM job in Atlanta, and former adviser and board member Jerry West is now in a similar role with the Clippers.
Not that any of this will change the approach taken by the Warriors, who won’t add any personnel executives until well after the draft.
If there a player they like is available at a specific point of the process, and a team willing to sell, the Warriors will be ready to roll. There is, after all, a reason they brought in 10 guards, seven forwards and one center for workouts in Oakland.