Warriors draft look: Centers

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Warriors draft look: Centers

Draft note: In the hours leading up to tonight's NBA Draft, Insider Matt Steinmetz will be conducting his final NBA mock draft beginning this morning at 10 a.m., and will pick a player every 15 minutes. Follow along all day long right here on CSNBayArea.com! The Warriors head into Thursdays NBA draft with four selections: The No. 7 pick, the No. 30 pick, the No. 35 pick and the No. 52 pick. While the Warriors would seem to have four positions pretty much set point guard, shooting guard, power forward and center the reality is that they could go in any direction come draft day.Leading up to Thursday, well rank the top players at each position, and see whether or not they could fit into the Warriors draft plans.CENTERSAndre Drummond, Connecticut, 6-10, 270 pounds: The drafts biggest enigma is the drafts biggest player. Drummond has all the physical skills, size and athleticism to become a big-time NBA center.But there are concerns about his bust potential. His critics say Drummond doesnt take the game seriously enough and will have great difficulty dealing with the competitiveness of the league.His backers say hes young, is still growing as a person and a player that is on the right track.Warriors angle: : There is a possibility that Drummond will be available when the Warriors select at No. 7. That means general manager Bob Myers and owner Joe Lacob have a decision to make: Do they take a young, raw big man who is a project or do they bypass him for something more certain?RELATED: Did Jerry West rule out drafting Andre Drummond?
Warriors minority owner Jerry West said on Chronicle Live on Wednesday that the Warriors needed a player who could help immediately and not one who needed two years to develop. That doesnt bode well for the Warriors picking Drummond.Tyler Zeller, North Carolina, 7-0, 250 pounds: He is big, he can run the floor and he is pro ready. But most believe that he doesnt have much of an upside and he is what he is.On the other end, Zeller is the kind of finished product who could probably step in right away and be a part of a teams rotation.Warriors angle: In many ways, Zeller would be a good fit for the Warriors. Hes good enough to be the first big man off the bench right now for Golden State and thats nothing to scoff at.Still, it might be a reach to pick Zeller with the No. 7 pick. If the Warriors end up with Zeller, chances are they moved back to do it.Meyers Leonard, Illinois, 7-1, 245 pounds: Its a little peculiar why Leonard isnt getting the kind of attention that Drummond is getting. After all, the two are very similar: both have big bodies, both are athletic and both have room for growth.Strange thing is, Leonard no doubt has a higher motor. It just doesnt add up.Warriors angle: The Warriors need to get more athletic, and Leonard is as big and athletic as it gets. Most figure Leonard will go somewhere after No. 10, so if the Warriors pick him it means they really like him.Chances are, Leonard will only be a Warrior if they trade back.Fab Melo, Syracuse, 7-0, 255 pounds: If youre looking for a big body, a space-eater, if you will, Melo might be your man. There are questions, however, about Melos character after being suspended at the end of Syracuses season.Warriors angle: There is talk that Melo could be slipping from the early 20s to possibly the second round. If Melo is there at No. 30, the Warriors would have to give him a look.Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt, 6-11, 255 pounds: Ezeli certainly isnt the most athletic player in the draft, but hes a proven rebounder and he doesnt mind doing the dirty work. Hes a very mature player off the court, and after picking the game up at a young age, has improved every year hes played.Warriors angle: Ezeli, like Melo, might be gone by the time the Warriors use their second pick in the first round No. 30. But if Ezeli is there, its tough to see them passing on him. Ezeli is not exactly like Ekpe Udoh, whom the Warriors traded in the deal for Andrew Bogut, but there are comparisons to be made there.

Zaza on All-Star vote spotlight: 'This is a special moment'

Zaza on All-Star vote spotlight: 'This is a special moment'

Zaza Pachulia was the People’s Choice. The Warriors center received 1,528,941 votes from fans eager to see him start in the NBA All-Star Game.

Pachulia in the final fan voting announced Thursday finished behind only teammate Kevin Durant among frontcourt players in the Western Conference. Zaza had more votes than Spurs star Kawhi Leonard (1,058,941) or Pelicans star Anthony Davis (974,802), both of whom will be starting for the West. 

With an extremely strong showing from voters in his native land, the Republic of Georgia, Pachulia finished precisely 613,068 votes ahead of Warriors teammate Draymond Green, who was an All-Star last season.

Yet Pachulia won’t join the All-Stars that flock to New Orleans from Feb. 16-19. The NBA prior to the season changed the voting procedure to ensure fans didn’t have complete control of the starting lineups.

Once the province of fan voting, the starting lineups are determined by a combination of fan voting (50 percent), player voting (25 percent) and media voting (25 percent). This way, a strong showing among fans hardly ensures a starting spot.

Some refer to this alteration as The Zaza Rule, as it was instituted Pachulia nearly made the team last season as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.

And Pachulia is OK with that. He made it clear weeks ago, when his numbers were dwarfing those of players who have made multiple All-Star appearances, the most important aspect of the voting was not how he finished but the incredible support of his fellow Georgians.

“It’s such an overwhelming situation,” Pachulia said a couple weeks ago. “You’re not talking about a couple of thousand (votes). There’s hundreds of thousands. And with such a small country like Georgia, there are only 3.5 million people. The whole country’s involved in it.”

Pachulia, in fact, saw the humor in the matter. He knows his stats don’t compare to those of the league’s elite big men. He knows there is no single element of his game that the average fan would find irresistible.

He even knows he doesn’t belong in the NBA’s showcase game, with many of the players destined for the Hall of Fame.

“It’s just happening. All I can do is just sit back and enjoy and be thankful -- be really thankful -- for all of this,” Pachulia said. “Because I’m telling you, like you can get as mad as you want, you can be as happy as you want, but you can’t buy this. This is a special moment and I really appreciate the support. And that’s what I care about.

“I don’t care about being an All-Star, the fame that comes with it, the recognition that comes with it. I care about the support and the love I’m getting.”

Believe him. He’d prefer to enjoy the time with his family even more than he would have enjoyed the game itself.

Steph Curry, Kevin Durant named starters in 2017 All-Star Game

Steph Curry, Kevin Durant named starters in 2017 All-Star Game

Warriors guard Stephen Curry has been voted to start the NBA All-Star Game for the fourth consecutive season, and this time there was a measure of suspense.

Curry will join Rockets guard James Harden in the backcourt for the Western Conference squad, as voters snubbed MVP candidate and triple-double specialist Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City.

Joining Curry and Harden in the starting lineup for the West will be Warriors forward Kevin Durant, Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard and Pelicans forward/center Anthony Davis.

A combination of fan balloting (50 percent), player balloting (25 percent) and media balloting (25 percent) comprises the overall vote.

Curry’s selection is sure to generate considerable debate, as Westbrook leads the league in scoring (30.6 points per game), is second in assists and 11th (10.4) in rebounding (10.6). Westbrook also leads the league in PER at 29.56.

Moreover, he is bidding to become the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62 to average a triple-double over the course of a full season.

Coming off back-to-back MVP seasons, Curry ranks 12th in scoring (24.6 points per game), 15th in assists (6.1), second in 3-pointers made (158) and eighth in steals (1.81). His 92.6-percent shooting from the line ranks second in the NBA.

He is the first Warrior since Wilt Chamberlain to start four straight All-Star games.

Durant, in his first season with the Warriors, leads the team in scoring (26.2) and blocks (1.71) and double-doubles (16). He’s second in rebounding (8.6) and third in assists (4.7). His 54.4-percent shooting from the field is 10th in the league and tops among perimeter players.

Durant will be making his eighth appearance, and his fifth as a starter.

The Eastern Conference starters are as follows: guards Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers and DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors, with frontcourt players LeBron James of the Cavs, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks and Jimmy Butler of the Bulls.

All-Star reserves, which are chosen by NBA coaches, will be announced on Jan. 26.