If Harrison Barnes is a Warrior when the draft-pick trading season ends sometime tomorrow, the first thing on his list is to get a hat that fits or the will to pull it down so that it doesnt sit atop his head like a brimmed fez.
Hey, if big-event runway fashion shows are the new thing in the NBA, everythings in play, right?
Fortunately, they arent, at least not at the Warriors end of the food chain. Barnes will be asked to become an impact player on a team that has always run short on them. And he could be that, though his shooting gifts are those the Warriors have had in abundance for years.
NEWS: Warriors draft Barnes
Barnes came to North Carolina as one of the most ballyhooed players of 2010, which meant that in the remorselessly over-analyzed world of ACC basketball he was regarded as not quite all that. That says more about the ACC than it does Barnes, though, and most analysts employed the phrase solid pick. And frankly, the Warriors could use all the solid they can get.
If there is a problem, it is this: Barnes does not give them anything they actually lack. He is not a strong defender, certainly not as strong as even Dorell Wright, and he is not a traffic rebounder.
Enter Festus Ezeli, the second first-rounder, a 6-11, 255-pound basilisk from Vanderbilt who gives them some bulk and presence in a place where they have had precious little of either. He is considered the long shadow in the middle that the Warriors have assiduously avoided lo these many years.
NEWS: Warriors draft Ezeli
In that way, Ezeli as a backup to and adjunct with Andrew Bogut may have a greater impact than Barnes. The Warriors have dealt only infrequently with need-first draft picks, and Barnes was by no means a bad pick given what had already been taken. But the Warriors need to stop being the Warriors at some point, and if Ezeli is what he could be, he might be the bigger splash.
The first second round pick, smallish power forward Draymond Green of Michigan State, will fit in as needed, and seven-foot Bosnian center Ognjen Kuzmic, looks like a long-term project. But the Warriors need immediate changes to find a new version of national credibility. Barnes could be that, even if his skills are duplicative; Ezeli could be more of that, because he brings what the Warriors lack.
NEWS: Warriors draft Green, Kuzmic
And if you want to look past the draft itself, you must conclude that the Bogut trade makes this team radically different than it has been.
Whether that means that they are radically better remains very much to be seen.
But since immediate analysis is demanded in all things at all times, we can say with some confidence that this was not a Warrior draft that makes a fan cringe. There will be a lot of knowing nods, the international acknowledgment of Well, I get that.
But the long-term prognosis? Check back in the long term. The hat thing, though? We should know by the start of training camp.