As usual, the first game of the Western Conference Finals is shaping up to be a huge night for the Warriors — only for vastly different reasons this time around.
After playing in the Western Conference Finals in an NBA-record five straight years, the NBA Draft Lottery will now be the Warriors’ focus that night. Yes, we all know how the mighty Warriors have fallen, but on May 19 we’ll learn where all this losing lands them in the draft order.
Thus, following years of documenting the Warriors’ postseason exploits we’ll now bring you the decidedly less-sexy championship chase of the also-rans — the race to the lottery and subsequent NBA Draft on June 25.
We begin our weekly glance at draft machinations and prospects with a primer on what’s at stake for the Warriors these final two months of the regular season. We’ll then begin delving into potential Warrior picks such as center James Wiseman, shooting guard Anthony Edwards and point guard LaMelo Ball.
So far, the Warriors are still winning the battle for the bottom of the NBA standings as of Tuesday morning — they have a 1 1/2-game “lead” over the Cavaliers for the worst record in the league. But lottery rules have changed significantly since 2012, when Golden State was making its fifth straight lottery appearance.
Before the 2019 lottery, the worst team had a decided edge with a 25 percent of having the ping-pong balls bounce its way. Now there’s no difference between finishing with the league’s worst record, second-worst or third-worst record for winning lottery odds. Each of the three worst teams have a 14 percent chance of winning.
The lottery changes were made to discourage obvious tanking in order to secure the top draft spot. No one could accuse these 12-42 Warriors of outright tanking in order to save their first-round pick from being shipped to Brooklyn in June. But it bears mentioning the Nets would have owned Golden State’s top pick had it fallen outside the Top 20. (Brooklyn instead will get the Warriors’ second-round pick in 2025.)
With just 28 regular season games left and a five-game lead over the fourth-worst Timberwolves, the odds overwhelmingly suggest the Warriors will be picking in the Top 5. Golden State’s recent trades also leave it with a pair of second-round picks at No. 49 overall and No. 53.
So what would (or should) the Warriors do with a Top 5 pick, or even the top pick overall? Their trade for Andrew Wiggins on Friday certainly brought a bit more clarity to that question.
Knowing Joe Lacob, Bob Myers and the Warriors’ personnel staff, they’ll be in on any big name player who becomes available via trade. The Warriors should be well-armed to deal if they land a Top 5 pick to go along with next year’s No. 1 from Minnesota.
If they keep their pick, there’s only one starting position to be filled. With guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson back together to start next season and Draymond Green and Wiggins at forward, the …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports