Warriors draft look: Small forwards

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Warriors draft look: Small forwards

The Warriors headinto Thursdays NBA draft with four selections: The No. 7 pick, the No. 30pick, the No. 35 pick and the No. 52 pick. While the Warriors would seem tohave four positions pretty much set point guard, shooting guard, powerforward and center the reality is that they could go in any direction comedraft day.

STEINMETZ: NBA mock draft 3.0
Leading up toThursday, well rank the top players at each position, and see whether or notthey could fit into the Warriors draft plans.SMALLFORWARDSMichaelKidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky, 6-7, 230 pounds: Back in January andDecember, when teams were playing, there was little doubt that Kidd-Gilchristwas considered the cream of the point guard crop. He was considered a sure-firetop-three pick along with Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson.He isnt much of anoffensive player yet, but most believe that will come in time. WhatKidd-Gilchrist already has is a pro body and competitiveness you cant teach.Warriorsangle: Maybe Kidd-Gilchrist is slipping some but its still hard tosee him falling all the way to Golden State at No. 7. If that happens, expectthe Warriors to draft Kidd-Gilchrist and be very happy about it.The more pertinentissue, though, is this: If the Warriors believe hell fall all the way to, say,No. 5, do they have the wherewithal to have a deal in place with the Kings tomake something happen on draft day?HarrisonBarnes, North Carolina, 6-8, 210 pounds: As Thursday approaches, itslooking more and more like Barnes could be available. That wouldnt be a badthing for the Warriors.Of the smallforwards in this draft, Barnes is more advanced and more of a finished productthan all of them. Does that make him a future star? No, but it sure looks likeBarnes will have a solid pro career. On top of it all, the Warriors likelybelieve he fills a need at small forward.Warriorsangle: If Barnes falls to No. 7 and Kidd-Gilchrist is off the board it seems pretty logical the Warriors would select him. On Monday, owner JoeLacob and assistant GM Bob Myers saw Barnes and center Andre Drummond inprivate workouts.If the Warriors havea choice between both those players, its easy seeing the Warriors take Barnes much more of a sure thing.MoeHarkless, St. Johns, 6-8, 208 pounds: Its not hard to find NBAexecutives who like Harkless more than Barnes. Maybe not for today or tomorrow,but down the line a couple of years.Harkless defendedmultiple positions at St. Johns and appears to be just coming into his own asa player.Warriorsangle: Harkless is a player who is right up the Warriors alley, ifonly for the issue of draft position. Conventional wisdom is that No. 7 is toohigh of a pick for Harkless, and that mid-teens might be morerealistic.The Houston Rocketshave picks Nos. 14, 16 and 18, so if you hear about a deal involving theWarriors and Houston, dont be surprised if Harkless eventually comes into playfor Golden State.Perry JonesIII, Baylor, 6-11, 235 pounds: Early in the draft process, Jones IIIwas a player who was thought to be a top-seven or so selection. Not anymore.The issue with Jones III is nobody is quite convinced that he loves the gameenough to put in the long-term work to be a good player. Questions about Jonesmotor persist. But there is no denying his size and athleticism and theintrigue he could provide down the line as a small forward.Warriorsangle: Way back when, the Warriors took a look at Jones with thethought he could be their guy at No. 7. Thats probably not going to happen.But where Jones could come into play is if the Warriors decide to move down in a potential trade with Houston.If youre the Warriors,taking Jones III at No. 14 or so makes a lot more sense than taking him at No.7.RoyceWhite, Iowa State, 6-8, 270 pounds: He is one of the most intriguingplayers in the draft, possessing size, strength and the special asset of beingable to pass the basketball.He also has an anxiety disorder that causes himto try to miss flying, and back in 2009 he was arrested forshop-lifting.But hes built likea truck and is difficult to stop near the basket.Warriorsangle: If Lacob and Myers are looking to raise a few eyebrows, movingback and taking White would do it. On the one hand, there are no assurances atthis point youll be able to rely on White. Then again, if he pans out, theteam that took him in the mid- to late teens is going to look verysmart.

Jazz hold off Clippers in Game 5, take 3-2 series lead

Jazz hold off Clippers in Game 5, take 3-2 series lead

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES -- Gordon Hayward scored 27 points, Utah controlled the paint, and the Jazz beat the Los Angeles Clippers 96-92 on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Hayward returned after missing most of Utah's win in Game 4 because of food poisoning that caused him to lose weight and energy.

Chris Paul's 3-pointer drew the Clippers within two with 5 seconds left. After George Hill hit two free throws, Paul struggled getting the ball under control near the sideline and couldn't do anything as time expired.

The Jazz made five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including three by Rodney Hood, who finished with 16 points.

Paul led the Clippers with 28 points and J.J. Redick added 26 with injured star Blake Griffin watching from the bench, his right foot encased in a black walking boot.

The Jazz can clinch the series with a victory in Game 6 on Friday night in Salt Lake City.

The Clippers rallied from an 11-point deficit early in the fourth to tie the game. They made 12 of 15 free throws in the final period, but never managed to take the lead.

Paul and Hayward were called for double technical fouls with 40 seconds to go. Paul had already pushed Hayward in the back after they got tied up scrambling for a rebound in front of Utah's bench. Hayward made both shots for a 90-85 lead.

Joe Johnson's step back jumper extended Utah's lead to 92-87.

Neither team shot well, but the Jazz were better at most everything else. They owned a 34-28 edge in the paint, and the team that has done so has won each of the first five games in the best-of-7 series.

Utah outscored the Clippers on second-chance and fast-break baskets.

Utah took the game's first double-digit lead early in the fourth on a 3-pointer by Hood that made it 69-58.

The Clippers clawed back with an 11-0 run featuring five straight free throws by Redick and two consecutive 3-pointers from Paul that tied the game at 69-all.

Suddenly, the quiet crowd was on its feet cheering and Utah called time out.

The Jazz regrouped to take a 77-69 lead. They ran off eight straight, capped by Haywood's 3-pointer after the Clippers' defense shut down Hill inside and forced him to pass out to the perimeter with the shot clock winding down.

TIP-INS:
Jazz: Neither team has won by more than eight points so far in the series.

Clippers: Griffin's injured big right toe needs further evaluation before it's decided whether he'll require surgery. ... G Austin Rivers played 17 minutes in his return from a strained left hamstring. He was 0 of 4 and had two points. ... They fell to 1-11 all-time in Game 5 of a playoff series that was tied 2-2.

 

Blazers GM: Former Warriors big man will not play for Portland next year

Blazers GM: Former Warriors big man will not play for Portland next year

Festus Ezeli will not be back with the Blazers next season, Portland GM Neil Olshey said on Tuesday.

Last summer -- after the Warriors let Ezeli walk in free agency following the addition of Kevin Durant -- he signed a 2-year contract worth just over $15 million.

But Year 2 was essentially a club option with a $1 million buyout.

A knee injury prevented Ezeli from ever suiting up for the Blazers this season.

He underwent cadaver ligament replacement surgery in early March.

The Warriors drafted Ezeli 30th overall in 2012.

Over 46 games (13 starts) with Golden State in 2015-16, he averaged 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds over 16.7 minutes per contest.