Golden State Warriors' general manager Bob Myers and company breathed a huge sigh of relief at the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery two weeks ago after the ping-pong balls rolled their way, allowing the Warriors to keep their lottery pick in the upcoming draft.
The Warriors will have four total picks in the 2012 NBA Draft: two first round picks (seventh and 30th), and two second round picks (35th and 52nd).
However, Myers hinted at the possibility that the Warriors would not keep all four picks:
"Having four picks is a tremendous situation to be in, and I think we can do some good things with it," he said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. "We're excited. We have a tremendous amount of assets, which puts us in good shape to explore a variety of opportunities. It's up to us to make something of it."
The Chronicle also broke down the four possible routes that the Warriors' could take with the No. 7 pick: Trade the pick, move down in the draft, move up in the draft or stay put.
Out of all these options, moving up in the draft via a trade is the best direction to go.
The NBA and NFL are different in a lot of ways, and one of them includes the draft.
The first difference: The NFL Draft has seven rounds, while the NBA Draft has just two rounds.
In the NFL, 46 players are allowed to be on an active roster at one time but just 11 of them are allowed on the field at a time (11 for offense, 11 for defense). Add in some special-teamers, kickers and backups, but the bottom line is that not every player on the active roster will be used during a game.
Therefore, having more draft picks in the NFL is a good thing. Not only does it add depth to the roster, but there is a good chance that at least one out of the seven draft picks will live up to his potential and have a successful career.
The second difference: Having a lot of draft picks in the NBA is not necessarily a good thing.
Only 13 players can be on the active roster at a time, and unlike the NFL, there is a good chance that all of them will be playing at one a point or another during any given game.
In other words, the Warriors do not have room for four extra players, especially since at least two of them will be relatively unproven second-round draft picks.
This clearly calls for them to trade up in the draft to get a once-in-a-lifetime, superstar talent.
Think about it this way. Would you rather have one skilled, high-ceiling top-three pick, or four mediocre picks who will eat up salary and roster spots?
Remember, this is not the NFL draft. The Warriors simply do not have the patience to wait for their draft picks to develop since they will be taking up valuable roster space while not contributing much to the team.
The Warriors must use this logic and use their multitude of draft picks to move up and grab that one special guy (see reason No. 2).
Looking at the players projected to go from the sixth to eleventh pick courtesy of Chad Ford of ESPN, it is clear that none of them are desperately needed by the Warriors.
6 - Andre Drummond, C - The Warriors just traded away their franchise player, Monta Ellis, for Andrew Bogut, arguably the third best center in the league behind Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum. It would be nice to grab him as an insurance policy if Bogut gets hurt again, but that's exactly what Drummond will be if the Warriors draft him—an insurance policy.
7 - Terrence Jones, PF - The Warriors are projected to select 6'8" power forward Terrence Jones out of Kentucky with the seventh overall pick.
"If the Warriors could get him to play hard all the time, he could be the answer for them at the 4," says Ford.
Sure, Jones could come off the bench and supply some energy, but the Warriors' answer at the four is David Lee, and that will not change for a while due to his huge contract. So Jones can certainly help, but he is not a necessity at this point.
8 - Dion Waiters, SG - The Warriors do need a shooting guard to back up Klay Thompson, but that can be dealt with later in the draft or in free agency.
9- John Henson, PF / 10 - Jared Sullinger, PF - Same deal as Terrence Jones. Yes, both of these guys would bring much-needed depth down low, but for the first time in many years, the Warriors do not have to take risks on big-men in the draft. With Lee and Bogut anchoring the post, the Warriors must focus on other needs.
11 - Damian Lillard, PG - The Warriors will need a point guard to back up Stephen Curry if they do not feel that Charles Jenkins is ready for the task. But they do have a mid-level exception that can be used to lure in a veteran PG such as Jason Kidd or Andre Miller, so there is no need to risk a lottery pick on a back-up.
My point is that nobody who they draft seventh overall will make a dramatic impact on the team. In particular, there is one specific position that the Warriors are in dire need for an upgrade.
If you examine it closely, what is the only position not on the list above?
You guessed it.
It has been no secret—the Warriors are screaming for an upgrade at the small forward position.
Dorell Wright struggled last season, averaging just 10.3 points per game, which was down six points from the 16.4 that he averaged in 2010-11.
Richard Jefferson, the veteran small forward who was acquired from San Antonio midseason, proved to be a solid contributor, but he is nowhere near the 22.6 points per game that he averaged with New Jersey five years ago.
With solid players in the starting lineup at each of the four other positions—point guard Stephen Curry, shooting guard Klay Thompson, power forward David Lee, and center Andrew Bogut—it is clear that getting a starting small forward would be a huge boost to this team.
So how would they get that starting small-forward in the NBA Draft?
The answer is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out of Kentucky.
At 6'7" and 232 pounds, Kidd-Gilchrist has been regarded by many scouts as the second-best player in the draft behind Anthony Davis, his teammate at Kentucky.
Aside from his perimeter shooting, Kidd-Gilchrist displays the complete package. He is effective in just about every aspect of the game, including being a lockdown defender with the ability to guard several positions—something the Warriors desperately need.
He is also an excellent rebounder for his size and is lethal on the fast break with the ability to slash to the basket a la Russell Westbrook. Kidd-Gilchrist has drawn comparisons to Gerald Wallace and Shawn Marion, although his potential is much higher.
Because he is just 18 years old, scouts say that Kidd-Gilchrist would benefit from joining a system where he is not the go-to guy. Thankfully, the Warriors have quality starters at the four other positions.
The only problem is that he is projected to be a top-four pick by ESPN's Chad Ford, meaning that the Warriors would have to find a team wiling to trade down.
The Charlotte Bobcats are shopping the second overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, according to multiple sources. They have yet to contact Thomas Robinson, who many had penciled in as the number two pick after Anthony Davis. On Thursday afternoon, the Bobcats met with a number of players who are projected in the middle of the first round, such as Tyler Zeller, which indicates that they could be looking to move down. The Bobcats don’t seem to be in love with anyone at this point, which means a different team could be selecting second on draft night.
This would be a great opportunity for general manager Bob Myers to swoop in and make a deal for that pick to nab Kidd-Gilchrist.
Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle claims that Myers and Bobcats' general manager Rich Cho have a "strong relationship", which could be used to the Warriors' advantage.
Finally, the Warriors may also be a good fit for Kidd-Gilchrist.
Simmons reports that Kidd-Gilchrist has been "noticeably stricken by the thought of going to a losing team. The Warriors are expected to be on the upswing with a healthy point guard (Stephen Curry) and center (Andrew Bogut). Meanwhile, top-picking New Orleans, Charlotte, Washington and Cleveland have some rebuilding to do."
I don't write fairy tales, but if I did, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would be drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the second overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Warriors' owners Joe Lacob (left) and Peter Guber (right).
From Day 1 when they first bought the team, Warriors' owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have stressed that they will bring a winning culture to Oakland.
When they addressed the crowd during their first game and said "That [1974-1975 championship] banner up there looks lonely. We want another one!" they put the pressure on themselves to create a championship contender.
So far, they have made several drastic changes in an effort to assemble the roots of a winning organization.
First, they hired Mark Jackson as head coach, a move that was highly criticized because Jackson had no coaching experience. The jury has yet to make a verdict on Jackson, as the Warriors were tormented by injuries in his first season, forcing him to play inexperienced and unproven guys.
A week before the deadline last season, the owners finally realized that small-ball was not the way to win, so they traded star shooting-guard Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks for 7'0" center Andrew Bogut. Although this deal was highly unpopular, the Warriors did get a true, quality center, which is rare in the NBA today.
There was also the alleged tank job that the Warriors pulled off in an effort to keep their lottery pick. It was a questionable strategy, but it did work out in the end.
Finally, Bob Myers took over for Larry Riley as general manager, a move that was planned out beforehand. Although he has yet to make any moves, Myers will have a great opportunity to make a first impression in the upcoming NBA Draft.
And what better way to make that awesome first impression than by trading up to grab a potential superstar in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?
Granted, Kidd-Gilchrist does not single-handedly own the key to success for the Warriors, but getting him will just be another step toward the ownership's goal of creating a championship-caliber team.
If management wants to live up to its promise of building a winning team and being aggressive, they will not passively sit back and select a backup role player with the seventh overall pick.
No, if they want to keep that promise and reward the fans that have been so loyal through tough times, the Warriors will trade up in the draft and select their starting small-forward for the 2012-13 season: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.