2012 NBA Draft: Bold Predictions for the Golden State Warriors

Steven Goldstein@@GoldsteinNUContributor IJune 22, 2012

2012 NBA Draft: Bold Predictions for the Golden State Warriors

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    After a bleak 2011-12 campaign that saw the Golden State Warriors finish fourth in the Pacific Conference, the Bay's basketball liaisons are one of six teams with multiple first round picks in Thursday's NBA draft. With two second round selections waiting in the wings, the 2012 draft could completely re-sculpt and redirect the franchise.

    The Warriors have viable cornerstones in point guard Stephen Curry, shooting guard Klay Thompson and power forward David Lee. With a strong rookie class, Golden State can scamper back into contention.

    Check out a few bold predictions for the Warriors come draft night. 

Round 1, Pick 7: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

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    ESPN has Golden State nabbing Connecticut guard Jeremy Lamb. DraftExpress.com sees the Warriors with Weber State guard Damian Lillard.

    But what if new general manager Bob Myers looks outside the box—and inside the paint. Meyers Leonard could be a good fit here.

    Leonard has been searing through the first round of consensus mocks. He now stands at a projected ninth overall in Sports Illustrated's latest mock, just two slots below Golden State's seventh pick.

    Yes, the Warriors acquired center Andrew Bogut from Milwaukee this past March, but the perpetually-injured big man has yet to suit up for a game. Since the 2008-09 season, Bogut has played an average of just 45.5 games a year.

    As a sophomore, Leonard put up over 13 points a night to go along with 1.9 blocks and 8.2 boards. His defensive prowess would provide an immediate boost to a team that ranked a meager 28th in overall rebounding.

    NBADraft.net scouts the former Illini as a "fluid, athletic seven-footer" and a "smart help-defender," adding that he "uses his agility well to get around the rim."

Round 1, Pick 7: Pick Traded with Andris Biedrins for Chicago SF Luol Deng

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    It's a reach, but it's a match made in heaven.

    As SI reports, the Chicago Bulls have been actively pursuing a lottery pick in Thursday's draft, with Luol Deng's name circulating through trade talks.

    Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times notes that the Warriors have definite interest in Deng, and their dearth of serviceable small forwards will likely inspire action come draft night.

    Deng, an All-Defensive Second-Teamer, would be a huge addition for Mark Jackson's squad. At just 27 years of age, Deng is amidst the prime of his career and would erase the biggest question mark in the starting five.

    Holding the 30th selection as well, the Warriors can afford to take a risk here and jilt their top pick. With Deng as a clearly-established talent, it's not much of a risk at all.

    Golden State management has yet to be wowed by the forwards they've worked out. If Chicago bites, the Warriors win big.

Round 1, Pick 30: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

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    Fab Melo falling to the tail of the first round? The Warriors would be getting away with highway robbery.

    Melo, like Leonard, boasts a formidable interior presence and would ameliorate Golden State's rebounding woes. Melo shot over 56 percent from the floor and blocked 2.9 shots a game for Syracuse last year.

    Despite a bevy of off-court issues—including concerns over maturity and an incident of academic ineligibility during this year's NCAA Tournament—Melo would be well worth the risk.

    Slam Magazine has Melo going as high as 17th to Dallas; CBS Sports has him at 27th to the defending champion Miami Heat.

    It's tough to think a shot-blocker as pure as Fab Melo will drop past the rest of the league, but anything goes on draft night.

Round 1, Pick 30: Draymond Green, SF/PF, Michigan State

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    A consensus First-Team All-American and the all-time leading rebounder of an illustrious Big Ten program, it's tough to believe that Michigan State's decorated Draymond Green won't crack the lottery picks.

    But most mocks have Green slated as a late first-rounder. He could slip to the Warriors at 30th.

    Writes NBADraft.net, "The ultimate 'Glue Guy,' Green's strongest asset is his ability to contribute across the board." With his size and athleticism, Green could fit at either forward position, filling the obvious hole at the three-spot or providing backup for the oft-injured David Lee.

Round 2, Pick 34: John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt

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    The leader of an upstart Vandy team, junior shooting guard John Jenkins shot over 47 percent from the field in 2011-12 en route to 19.9 points a game.

    No player in Division 1 sank more threes than Jenkins last year, and he would be a nice touch to Golden State's perimeter game.

    It's gonna take a pinch of luck for the sharpshooter to fall as low as 34th, but in this year's competitive class of guards, it certainly could happen. Jenkins would contend for playing time with Klay Thompson.

Round 2, Pick 52: J'Covan Brown, PG, Texas

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    ESPN notes that Brown could go undrafted, despite dropping 20.1 points a night last season as a Longhorn. His scouting report includes rippling red flags such as "chemistry issues with teammates."

    But the Warriors could be rewarded by Brown's tremendous upside. A pure scorer, Brown could be used at either guard position and would provide depth for the recently-injured incumbent point guard, Stephen Curry.

    Questions about Brown's character, coupled with Golden State's security at the guard position, make this pick a bold one. And with Golden State's position in the middle of the second round, it could definitely be perceived as a reach. But this is the same J'Covan Brown who scored 33 points against Kansas back in March.