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.

Mike Brown takes notice after McCaw puts on display in replacing Iguodala

Mike Brown takes notice after McCaw puts on display in replacing Iguodala

OAKLAND -- The veterans among the Warriors have spent much of this season imploring Pat McCaw to fully unveil, to bring to games what he so often brings to practices, and the rookie guard/forward met that request Tuesday night.

With Andre Iguodala sidelined with soreness in his left knee, acting head coach Mike Brown, following the recommendation of ailing head coach Steve Kerr, turned to McCaw to fill some of the vacuum in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Spurs.

“Steve suggested that we put Patty in Andre's place and it made sense, especially with (Spurs star forward Kawhi Leonard) not playing tonight,” Brown said. “And he stepped up and had a big game for us.”

McCaw delivered a line very much like one that might be submitted by Iguodala: a career postseason-high 18 points, five assists, three steals and three rebounds in 27 minutes. He was plus-19 as the Warriors rolled to a 136-100 win.

“He was amazing,” Stephen Curry said. “Obviously with Andre out, it was the next-man-up philosophy. Everybody says it. But when you have a guy like Pat who doesn't really know when his minutes are going to come, he always stays ready.”

McCaw has been the plug-in man for much of the season, starting at various times for Klay Thompson or Kevin Durant, whose calf injury influenced Brown/Kerr to play McCaw over four games in the first round against Portland.

With Durant back for the conference semifinals against Utah, another four-game sweep by the Warriors, McCaw played a total of nine minutes and never left the bench in Game 3.

He also didn’t leave the bench Saturday in Game 1 against the Spurs.

So the Spurs could not have known what was coming when McCaw entered with 5:06 left in the first quarter, about when Iguodala typically enters. McCaw neither shot nor scored in that quarter, but began making an offensive impact in the second quarter, hitting his first shot, a 3-pointer, and then his second, driving to the rim.

“We've all seen him shoot in practice,” Brown said. “He can shoot the ball, especially if you're going to give him time like that. He can do a lot of things offensively. Yeah, when he first came into the game, he passed a couple of shots, and I just don't think he realized that he was going to be that wide open.”

McCaw was 6-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-4 from deep, and the 21-year-old product of UNLV made all three of his free throws.

“The biggest thing for him was his aggressiveness,” Curry said. “If you get an open shot, take it. Make or miss, that's a good shot for us. Understanding the moment, when he gets the ball in his hands, just, you know, make the right decision, be aggressive, like I said, and try to make things happen.

“So he did that all game, and that was huge a huge pickup for us, obviously, with Andre out. And he'll probably get a lot more minutes down the stretch of this series, and he hopefully can continue to do the same.”

McCaw has been something of a project for Iguodala, who sees some of himself in the rookie. The two often spend extra time after practice working out together.

“I take bits and pieces from everybody’s game,” McCaw said. “So I take it as a compliment being compared to Andre. I take stuff from Andre, I take stuff from Klay and I take stuff from Draymond (Green).

“All the players on our team, I try to contribute to my own game.”

McCaw never looked better than on Tuesday night, when he came out of the shadows to light the Spurs.

Instant Replay: Warriors clamp on down on defense, cruise past Blazers

Instant Replay: Warriors clamp on down on defense, cruise past Blazers

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Staggering and stumbling and at times appearing utterly disoriented, the Warriors summoned more than enough Wednesday night to drill the even wobblier Portland Trail Blazers.

With backup center JaVale McGee restoring order to the proceedings, the Warriors rolled to a 110-81 rout of Portland at Oracle Arena to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven first-round Western Conference playoff series.

Stephen Curry put in 19 points to lead the Warriors in scoring, while Klay Thompson had 16, McGee 15, Ian Clark 13 and Zaza Pachulia 10.

Playing without Kevin Durant, Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes, the Warriors outrebounded the Blazers 54-47 and limited them to 33.3-percent shooting from the field, including 20.6 percent (7-of-34) beyond the arc.

The Warriors overcame 17 turnovers, off which the Blazers scored 20 points. Portland, however, had 19 giveaways, off which the Warriors scored 20 points.

Poor shooting by Curry (6-of-18) and Thompson (6-of-17) was more than offset by a forgettable night by Portland guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who combined for 75 points in Game 1 but on this night totaled 23 on 9-of-34 shooting.

All 11 available Warriors entered the game and got on the scoreboard.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

The Warriors received outstanding play from all their big men, but the key points of this game were decorated with McGee’s fingerprints.

McGee’s line: 15 points (7-of-7 shooting from the field, 1-of-1 from the line), five rebounds, four blocks and one steal. He played 13 minutes and finished plus-19.

TURNING POINT

After Portland trimmed a 16-point deficit to one in the second quarter, the Warriors put together runs closing the first half and opening the second to reassert themselves.

When Evan Turner drilled a 3-pointer to pull the Blazers to 43-42 with 3:38 left in the quarter, the Warriors closed the half on a 12-4 run to take a 55-46 lead into intermission.

The Warriors opened the second half with a 7-0 run, going up 62-46 on a Curry layup with 10:13 left in the third quarter. They held Portland to 12 points in the third, tied for the fewest in a playoff game by any Warriors opponent in the shot-clock era.

Portland got no closer than 14 over the final 22 minutes.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Matt Barnes (R ankle/foot sprain), F Kevin Durant (L calf strain) and G Shaun Livingston (R index finger sprain/hand contusion) were listed as questionable and downgraded to out before tipoff. F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) was listed as out.

Trail Blazers: G Allen Crabbe (L foot soreness) and G CJ McCollum (R ankle sprain) were listed as probable and upgraded to available. C Ed Davis (L shoulder surgery), C Festus Ezeli (L knee surgery) and C Jusuf Nurkic (R leg fracture) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The teams return to action Saturday night for Game 3 at Moda Center in Portland. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:35.