For as long as I can remember, I’ve rooted for the Warriors to win every game. It would ruin my evening when they lost a game they should have won (see: February 7 loss to OKC).
But for the last two weeks, I’ve found myself rooting for them to lose every game.
No, I don’t hate the Warriors now. Though I’m developing a strong dislike for the new owners.
I still love them, and will always love them. But getting an alert on my phone telling me that they lost gave me a strange sense of joy, one I hope goes away soon.
See, I just want the Warriors to keep their first round draft pick on June 28th. There are a lot of players I like at the top of mock drafts and I want one to come play in Oakland.
If the draft lottery gives the Warriors one of the top seven slots, they keep their pick. If it falls eighth or lower, their pick goes to the Utah Jazz. Every loss helps the Warriors’ chances of moving up in the lottery.
The draft is where the Warriors have to find their next superstar. They aren’t going to hook a big fish in the offseason. Heck, they couldn’t even convince Tyson Chandler to come here.
They aren’t going to trade for a megastar. Dwight Howard wanted no part of Oakland prior to the trade deadline.
The seventh spot in the draft holds many options.
If the Warriors want a big man to groom behind David Lee and Andrew Bogut, they could have a shot at more than a half dozen prospects:
- Cody Zeller, 6-foot-11, Center, Freshman, Indiana – Zeller is a super-athletic center, who has yet to declare for the draft. But if he does, he’s a potential top five pick. He averaged 15 points and six rebounds as a freshman in the Big 10.
- Perry Jones III, 6-foot-11, Power Forward, Sophomore, Baylor – One of the most talented players in the draft, but a lot of scouts question his intensity.
- James Michael McAdoo, 6-foot-9, Power Forward, Freshman, North Carolina – UNC was so deep, McAdoo only averaged 15 minutes a game. But towards the end of the season, he saw his minutes increase and racked up for 14 points and 8 rebounds in 29 minutes against Maryland on March 9 and 17 points and 6 rebounds in 23 minutes UNC’s first round win over Vermont in the NCAA tournament.
- Tyler Zeller, 7-foot, Center, Senior, North Carolina – The ACC Player of the Year, Zeller averaged 16 points and almost 10 rebounds a game during his senior season. He’s long, can defend and can move up and down the court easily. Any point guard would love to pass to him.
- Jared Sullinger, 6-foot-9, Power Forward, Sophomore, Ohio State – Sullinger is a bruiser. He’s not big enough to be a center, but he’s tough and will fight for rebounds. He averaged 10 rebounds a game during his freshman season, and 9 rebounds per game this past season.
- John Henson, 6-foot-10, Power Forward, Junior, North Carolina – Another frontliner from UNC, Henson was their defensive stopper. He averaged three blocks a game over the last two seasons. He’s got a long wingspan and can shoot well for a big man.
If the Warriors want to address their thin small forward position, there are a couple interesting options:
- Harrison Barnes, 6-foot-8, Small Forward, Sophomore, North Carolina – Barnes was projected as a top pick if he had come out of school last year, but he stayed in school and he may have hurt his stock a little bit. Late this season, he didn’t look as aggressive as he did during his freshman season. Rather than attack, he settled for outside jumpers and struggled.
- Terrence Jones, 6-foot-8, Power Forward, Sophomore, Kentucky – He’s listed as a PF, but he has the athleticism and ball-handling skills to play SF. He is one of my favorite college players to watch. He’s aggressive and can shoot. But sometimes, his demeanor on court appears a little lazy. If he’s willing to bust his hump, he can be a special player.
With Klay Thompson entrenched at shooting guard, the Warriors don’t need to spend too much time looking at shooting guards. But if they think that Stephen Curry’s ankle might be a long-term problem, there are two point guards they should definitely consider:
- Kendall Marshall, 6-foot-4, Point Guard, Sophomore, North Carolina – Marshall is a pure passer, plain and simple. He’s one of the best passers you will see. His head is always up, looking for an open teammate. It’s a shame that he hurt his off hand and missed the final two games of the tournament. Drafting him in the top 10 would be a reach, but if the Warriors got him, they could consider moving Curry to shooting guard.
- Damian Lillard, 6-foot-2, Point Guard, Junior, Weber State – Lillard is a graduate of Oakland High School and had a breakout junior season, scoring 24 points per game and racking five rebounds and four assists per game.
With 16 games left, the Warriors have the ninth-worst winning percentage (20-30, .400). The next two closest teams are Sacramento and Detroit (18-33, .353). The Warriors face a lot of Western Conference contenders in those 16 games, so it is possible that they could fall back into one of the top seven spots.