In ESPN.com's Chad Ford's latest mock draft (subscription needed), he exposes a mini-schism that emerged during the draft process between Golden State Warriors special consultant Jerry West, owner Joe Lacob and general manager Bob Meyers.
Still not sure which way this goes, folks. Jerry West is a big fan of Dion Waiters. Owner Joe Lacob isn't sure if they can pass on the size and potential of Andre Drummond, if he doesn't go at No. 5. GM Bob Meyers thinks Harrison Barnes would be a steal here. I usually pick the owner in these types of fights. … Then again, this is Jerry West you're talking about.
According to San Jose Mercury-News reporter Tim Kawakami, Ford looks spot on his prediction that the Hall of Famer West would get his way in the end.
But if Waiters there, both execs also believe that the Warriors will select him. I totally agree with them: If Waiters is there, he’ll almost certainly be a Warrior around 5 p.m. tonight [Pacific Standard Time].
No question, there was a lot of internal debate on this specific issue over the last few days in the Warriors’ draft room… apparently all through way through fairly late last night.
While in most cases, I would blindly agree with Jerry West on all things basketball-related, he's way off base here. Both Lacob and Meyers were suggesting players who were both better fits and better players, period.
But since it's all but certain Waiters will be the pick, let's examine why this is the wrong decision.
1. He doesn't fit the constitution of the team.
If I'm not mistaken, the Warriors traded an ball-dominating volume scorer at the trade deadline because he didn't fit into the evolution of the team. With Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis in the backcourt, it seemed like the Warriors were always in a perpetual state of two ball-needy guards wrangling over possession.
Substituting Klay Thompson, a brilliant spot-up shooter, in for Ellis will allow Curry to take fully take over his role as the main ball handler. Drafting Waiters takes what most thought was a sensible plan and sets it ablaze. Especially if a swingman with Barnes' potential is still on the board.
And if their plan is to move Thompson to the small forward slot...who in the love of all things holy is playing defense in that lineup?
2. He was a sixth man in college, what makes you think he'll be more in the pros?
Fact: Waiters is the American projected in the first round who started fewer than 20 games in his collegiate career. And the Warriors are planning on selecting him to go No. 7 overall.
Granted, sometimes players are better pros than college players, and Waiters projects that way by almost any statistical measure.
He's an undersized shooting guard who's a good athlete and has a jumper that needs a ton of work. He was able score at Syracuse by overpowering his defender and taking him to the bucket. Waiters won't be able to do the same at the next level.
If he's none of those things, what translatable skill does he bring to Golden State?
And that's before we even get to the final reason he's not a good fit...
3. Waiters has a history not getting along with coaches.
Waiters went to four different high schools and was on his way to transferring out of Syracuse after butting heads over his role with Orange coach Jim Boeheim before having a last-minute change of heart.
As a sophomore, Waiters came in-shape and embraced his sixth man role, but can we trust one year of good behavior after a such checkered history?
Maybe late in the lottery, where his talent nullifies the risk, but at pick No. 7? Take a sure thing or, you know, an actual need.