Draft options narrowing for Warriors


That loud whooshing sound you heard Wednesday night was an entire fan base exhaling, as Warriors fans found out that the NBA draft lottery ping pong balls had bounced their way.

The Warriors will make the No. 7 selection in the upcoming NBA draft.

As I wrote about two months ago, this year’s draft is deep, full of potential impact players, especially in the front court. You want a pick in the top half of this draft.

The Warriors are pretty set at guard, where rookies Klay Thompson and Charles Jenkins have emerged as solid players. Hopefully Stephen Curry’s ankle woes are behind him.

The Warriors need to re-sign Brandon Rush, who is a restricted free-agent, meaning they have the ability to match any offer that he receives from another team. Letting a valuable role player like Rush leave would be a big mistake.

Anyone that follows the Warriors knows they need help on the frontline. While there are a number of options, all of them have risks and some may not be ready to contribute right away.

ESPN’s Chad Ford updated his mock draft following the lottery. He has three names linked to the Warriors, two of which I like.

In previous mock drafts, Ford had the Warriors taking Baylor’s 6-foot-11 power forward Perry Jones III. He’s hearing, though, that the Warriors’ interest in Jones has cooled recently. The knocks on Jones are pretty consistent: He doesn’t always play hard and he doesn’t play up to his talent.

Jones averaged 13.5 points per game last season, but in Baylor’s first round NCAA tournament game against South Dakota State, he vanished, scoring just two points in 33 minutes. Baylor won, but everyone takes notice when a All-American candidate scores one basket in 33 minutes. But I like Jones’ athleticism and potential.

The other player I really like is Kentucky’s Terrence Jones. He’s one of the most talented players in the draft, but he has the same issues as Perry Jones: Some think he doesn’t work that hard.

When I watched him at Kentucky, his talent stood out. Two years ago, before Anthony Davis showed up on campus, Jones scored almost 16 points a game, snatched nearly nine rebounds a game and blocked two shots a game.

He played power forward in college, but he’d move to small forward in the NBA. The Warriors could use his tenacity on defense. He’s not the best player in the draft, but he’s my favorite player in this draft class.

In his latest mock draft, Ford projects the Warriors selection to be Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger. Not one of my favorites. Sullinger is not as athletic as either Perry or Terrence Jones, but he doesn’t have the mental lapses that plague the other two.

ESPN’s scouting report notes Sullinger has conditioning issues; they list him at 280 pounds. I’d be disappointed if they took Sully. I don’t think he adds anything to this Warriors team. With teacher’s pet David Lee entrenched at power forward, Sullinger would spend a lot of time on the bench during his rookie season.

Oakland Tribune beat writer Marcus Thompson added an interesting name into the mix: North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes. His stock fell a little bit during the recent season, but he’s definitely the long, athletic small forward the Warriors are looking for.

Barnes is inconsistent though. One game he’ll be great, the next game he won’t be able to hit a shot. And as Thompson points out, he’s not really good at helping other players get their shots, and he’s not a presence in the paint. He’s fun to watch when he’s on, but I’d stay away from Barnes.

The lead-up to the draft is fluid and new names could pop into the discussion. Of course, any one of these guys could rock the pre-draft workouts and boost their stock to the point where the Warriors don’t even get a chance at them.

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