It’s crazy to think about, but the Golden State Warriors secured the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft on Thursday. You read that correctly. The same Warriors team that’s won three world championships in the last five years has an opportunity to add an elite prospect to a team that features Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins.
Rumors suggesting that Golden State would rather trade the pick for an established player fits the age trajectory of the stars already with the team have already begun to circulate. The possibility of the Warriors trading back to assert themselves as a contender one season removed from a 15-50 year.
The 2020 draft doesn’t have a clear-cut superstar in the making like Zion Williamson, but there’s a ton of depth. Quite a few teams could be willing to part with quality players to acquire one of the most promising, young players on the market. I’ll break down a few possible scenarios here.
Draft the player who fits positional need
The Warriors fell off a cliff in several statistical categories in 2019-20 but are set up to bounce back in a major way with their current personnel. Golden State has three players with All-Star experience returning in 2020, one of which has a Defensive Player of the Year Award under his belt. Then there’s Wiggins, who was acquired in a midseason trade that sent D’Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Wiggins averaged 21.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. He fills in nicely as a replacement for Kevin Durant at small forward. There’s still a glaring hole at center though.
Two players in this draft stand out as premier center prospects, and their names are James Wiseman and Onyeka Okongwu. Wiseman only played in three games at Memphis before being suspended from playing in the NBA but averaged 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds on 76.9 percent shooting. His 7’1” frame is ideal for rim protection, an he can stretch the floor by shooting the long ball. However, he might be a little clunky on both ends of the court when it comes to the being incorporated into the pick and roll.
Okongwu is a little undersized at 6’9”, but fits Golden State’s system. He’s an efficient scorer and elite rim protector with quick feet. He can score in pick and roll sets and is a competent defender as well. His ceiling isn’t as high as Wiseman’s so he might not be worth the No. 2 pick. The Warriors could trade back to collect some assets and still draft him though.
Draft the player with the highest upside
Wiseman, LaMelo Ball, and Anthony Edwards stand out as the consensus top three prospects up for grabs. The Warriors have outwardly expressed interest in Edwards so far though, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau. The Dubs view Edwards as a player who could contribute immediately and develop into a franchise player in a few years. He could very well be selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the first overall pick though. If Golden State thinks its favorite impact rookie will be off the board, it should make moves to find a good fit another way.
Trade the pick
The Warriors could also use the pick to acquire a difference maker with NBA experience, and they’re likely already compiling a list of options worth considering. The Philadelphia 76ers have surfaced as popular potential trade partner.
The 76ers have two All-Stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid that many speculate don’t fit well together. While both are invaluable to Philadelphia’s franchise, the process might need to take a step back before it can move forward. Golden State could include Wiggins and the No. 2 pick in a deal to acquire either player. Simmons or Embiid would make the Warriors championship favorites almost immediately, but the chances of such a deal happening are slim.
ESPN’s Kevin Pelton suggested that Golden State could trade the pick for a player still on a rookie contract to save some money. He mentioned players like Toronto’s OG Anunoby, Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges, and Atlanta’s John Collins. Those players might not have the same potential as the No. 2 pick though. It’ll be interesting to see how Warriors approach this unique situation.