What are the Warriors thinking as they head into the final weeks of preparation for the June 28 NBA draft?
Here are their options, as I see them, with three weeks left for all kinds of mayhem:
1. Stay at No. 7 and draft the small forward who fits them best. Probably the safest play because it's the Warriors' biggest outright need -- a tough, playmaking small forward to properly complement their best players.
2. Put the No. 7 pick in a package and try to make a trade for a young, veteran small forward.
3. Stay at No. 7 and take the most versatile big man available.
4. Stay at No. 7 and take a point guard.
5. Put the No. 7 pick in a trade package to move up and get Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
The first option is probably the safest because it's the Warriors' biggest need. And this draft looks to be a bit top-heavy with intriguing small forwards.
Kidd-Gilchrist would be a great fit, but he will almost certainly be taken second or third.
From there, though, it's feasible that these small forwards would be available at No. 7: North Carolina's Harrison Barnes, Kentucky's Terrence Jones (if he can play the position) and Baylor's Perry Jones III.
I believe the Warriors would lean toward Terrence Jones if he tests out as a small forward. He's considered a power forward -- he played power forward at Kentucky last season -- but he's small for that position in the NBA. That's one reason he's
But Jones has some small forward skills; he played the power position because Kidd-Gilchrist was a pure small forward. If Jones shows he can defend small forwards, he has the passing and rebounding talent that the Warriors would love to see at that position -- and what they don't get from Dorell Wright.
That's why the Warriors will want to see Jones in workouts with the true small forwards -- Perry Jones III and Barnes, in particular. If Terrence Jones can run and shoot with them, I would think it's likely the Warriors will select him.
Let's take a deeper look at the second option: Putting the No. 7 pick in a trade package for a young, veteran small forward.
Someone such as Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala would be ideal. But it would take a lot more than the seventh pick plus salary filler to get him.
Would the Warriors put Klay Thompson in a deal like this? That's probably what it would take -- and the Warriors probably wouldn't do that, because then they would need to fill the hole they created at shooting guard.
The Warriors can check with Memphis about Rudy Gay, a longtime favorite of Jerry West. But, again, they probably don't have enough assets to put together a strong offer. Same if you're thinking about Atlanta's Josh Smith, who also makes a ton of money and isn't quite a small forward.
There are alternatives that wouldn't be so costly -- Portland's Nic Batum, New Orleans' Trevor Ariza among them -- but those guys aren't as much of an upgrade as the Warriors are probably eyeing.
So let's take a closer look at the third option: Using the No. 7 pick on the most versatile big man available.
If you can get a big man who immediately looks like a 20-minute guy behind Andrew Bogut and David Lee, and who could play larger minutes at center if Bogut's recovery is delayed, that's not a bad value at No. 7.
I don't think the Warriors want to draft a backup player this high, but you never can have enough quality depth at the frontcourt spots. If you don't love the small forwards available at No. 7, you might land the best big man who falls from the top six.
That could be Connecticut's Andre Drummond or Ohio State's Jared Sullinger. On a slightly lower scale, it could be North Carolina's Tyler Zeller or Illinois' Meyers Leonard.
That brings us to the fourth option: Using the No. 7 pick on a point guard.
This player would back up Stephen Curry, complement him, or step in for him when/if he gets hurt again or if he eventually leaves as a free agent.
I don't see this as a prime option because no team likes to draft based on potential negatives and we know the Warriors REALLY don't like doing that.
Still, the Warriors might take a look at Damian Lillard, the Weber State kid from Oakland. He's a projected scoring point guard and would present all kinds of matchup possibilities alongside Curry and maybe in a three-guard lineup with Thompson.
Which brings to a fifth option: Packaging the No. 7 pick in an attempt to get Kidd-Gilchrist at Nos. 2 or 3.
Again, the Warriors just don't have enough assets to move that high, or they wouldn't want to pay the price to get that high. The likely price: the No. 7 pick, plus Thompson or Curry.
Repeat: The Warriors want to maximize what they have. They don't want to start subtracting in order to build it back up again.