Warriors

Without any picks, Warriors approaching NBA Draft 'acting as if we do'

Without any picks, Warriors approaching NBA Draft 'acting as if we do'

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.

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Do you remember what happened with about 35 seconds left in OT during Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals?

In case you forgot:

The Warriors led by 11 points and with the shot clock winding down, Steph Curry attempted a driving layup and LeBron James blocked it.

LeBron proceeded to talk some trash to Curry and even used a little forearm to nudge him away when Curry said something in return.

On the most recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Curry shed some light on the exchange.

Simmons: "He blocked you and he talked sh*t to you. I thought you guys were gonna fight."

Curry: "It was never going to spill over to that. But it was an interesting moment ... I was hot because I was trying to finish out a possession, I think it was less than a minute left, I didn't see him coming over from the weak side so I tried to do a little soft scoop layup and he pinned it. Then he stared me down and he said something to me.

"And I was like, 'That's what we're really on right now? We're about to win and you're worried about mean-blocking my shot and talking trash?' And then the whole Tristan and Draymond thing happened and I went back up to him and I was like, 'Yo, what's up? Is this really what we're about right now?'

"And he was like, 'I gotta do that to make sure my teammates know I'm a mentor' and it's a part of his leadership and that type of deal. And I was like, 'I don't want to be the sacrificial lamb for your leadership.' (laughter). Come on man, that's messed up."

Simmons: "I want more of it. I don't want you guys to like each other. This is my biggest problem with this decade. I like that I'm not positive you and LeBron like each other (Curry starts laughing). Watching from afar, it doesn't seem like you like each other. I'm sure there's a mutual respect."

Curry: "There's definitely a mutual respect. I would say though when you see guys working out with each other in the summers and you see guys playing pickup and all that -- when you step foot on the court during the season, it's a totally different environment.

"Guys can be buddies and friends and whatnot and have whatever type of relationship they want to have in the summer and off the court, but the rivalry and competition and egos and all that stuff that lives in an NBA game and when you're trying to hold that trophy ... it's really there and it's not going anywhere."

Simmons: "I don't want you guys to get along. I want adverserial relationships."

Curry: "They're there. They're there. I promise you."

Good. That is awesome.

A couple other takeaways from the podcast:

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

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AP

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

With the fifth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Ricky Rubio.

With the sixth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Jonny Flynn.

With the seventh pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select... Stephen Curry.

And the rest is history.

As you all know, the man in charge of those selections -- David Kahn -- was fired in 2013 and no longer works in the NBA.

"My guy David Kahn. I don't know where he's at right now," Curry said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. "I don't know if that ever came out -- there's a story. Everybody knows how much I love golf -- play it in my spare time and what not.

"I think the word on the street was that he didn't draft me because in Minnesota it's cold and I wouldn't be able to play as much golf so I would have been miserable."

A shocked Simmons asked Curry: "Is that true?"

"I hope it's true because that's hilarious (laughter)," Curry said. "That's hilarious."

To which Simmons responded: "It was idiotic in the moment. I did a draft diary. I was going nuts. Because if you're gonna take two point guards, how are you not one of the two? And then if you're gonna go all-in on Rubio and you don't even know if he's gonna come over..."

Rubio didn't leave Spain for the NBA until the 2011-12 season, and a hip injury unfortunately ended Flynn's career after just two plus seasons.

There's no way we will ever find out if that golf story is true, but just like Steph... we certainly hope it is.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller