Warriors draft look: Small forwards


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.

LeBron reacts to Kyrie Irving trade: 'What a ride...'

LeBron reacts to Kyrie Irving trade: 'What a ride...'

The dynamic duo of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving lasted just three seasons.

Despite making it to the NBA Finals in all three seasons, Irving wanted out of the partnership.

On Tuesday, he got his wish as the Cavs traded him to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round pick.

While the rumor was that Irving didn't want to play with James anymore, the four-time MVP had nothing but nice words to say about Irving on Twitter a few hours after the trade became official.

"That's the only way to be to the kid! Special talent/guy! Nothing but respect and what a ride it was our 3 years together Young Gode," James wrote in response to a short video of a fan placing a 'thank you' note on Irving's No. 2 Cavs jersey.

James and Irving won't have to wait very long to see each other again. The Cavs and Celtics face each other on Opening Night in Cleveland.

All the NBA deck chairs have been moved, but it doesn't even matter

All the NBA deck chairs have been moved, but it doesn't even matter

The Kyrie Irving-from-LeBronville Heights-to-Bahstin trade is rightly being called a blockbuster because it engenders so many concepts at once – making the second-best team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference seemingly better than the first-best team with one phone call and five shifted bodies.

At least that’s how it plays outside the Bay Area, because now that the Golden State Warriors have taken ownership of the entire league, Kyrie Irving’s whereabouts don’t actually change the balance of power – because there is none.

There’s the power, and there’s the other 29 teams.

Plus, and this is a forgotten element through all the machinations of the NBA’s Meth-Bender Summer, the league is fighting over individual pieces when the Warriors are preaching the virtues of the mega-ensemble.

Irving wants to be the focus of his team, which seems to fly in the face of Boston’s ball-movement philosophy. Paul George, who complained when he didn’t take the last shot in a playoff game this April, is in Oklahoma City with the master of the me-first game, Russell Westbrook. Carmelo Anthony is still in stasis but constantly mentioned as the next Houston Rocket, joining Chris Paul and James Harden in what would seem to be the living embodiment of The Total Is Less Than The Sum Of Its Parts ball.

Unless, of course, all these assumptions are wrong, and all the relocated stars suddenly find the virtues the Warriors displayed in boatracing the field this year and become not only unselfish offensively but more stridently devoted to defense. All these players are bright, determined, and seemingly open to new ideas (well, maybe not Melo, but even that is open to debate), but will they choose to be?

And even more compelling, will there be the immediate payoff in doing so?

On Question A, let us be charitable and suggest that they can do that. On Question B, however, such a return seems unlikely unless the Warriors either devote themselves to the pursuit of self or fail to avoid the medical department.

There is something worrisome about the sureness with which people are conceding 2018 – can all these self-absorbed morons be right? Things can happen to great teams, even in the NBA, which is the most hierarchical of sports.

But only the Warriors can beat the Warriors, because Kyrie Irving the Celtic does not seem at first glance to be better positioned for a parade than Kyrie Irving the Cavalier.

And that’s true of every roster move this summer. Deck chairs were moved for a better view, but the bridge is manned by the same captain, at least for the time being.