The Golden State Warriors and GM Bob Myers got off on the right foot in the 2012 NBA Draft, Myers' first draft as the new GM. Not only did Myers get his guy, Harrison Barnes, as the Dubs first pick, he drafted some good quality players to stock the lean bench.
There were no flashy trades with the Warriors' four picks and they did not take the steps to poach a proven small forward like Andre Iguodala or Rudy Gay. Could this happen in the future? When will Dorell Wright be moving to a different team? Those questions will be answered in the offseason.
But here is a report card of the Warriors draft. The grades are based on the talent of the players selected and where they were selected. These are initial grades, as we have not yet seen them on the floor interacting with other players. That will be another story.
Harrison Barnes will fit nicely with the Warriors.
The 20-year-old, 6'8", 228-pound small forward led the North Carolina Tar Heels with 17.1 PPG and averaged 5.2 boards per game. Barnes did not play up to his full potential as a Tar Heel, but he was under a microscope since the day he stepped onto the Chapel Hill campus.
Barnes is a very talented player with a good motor who was a projected top-five pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He shot 35.8 percent from three-point range last year. Barnes looks to compete with Brandon Rush and could take over for Dorell Wright if he is traded in the offseason.
Barnes is one of the more NBA-ready players that GM Bob Myers had his eye on through the workouts. He could be a breakout star and will be in the starting rotation by the end of the 2012-13 season. He will pair nicely with Klay Thompson, who was picked 11th in last year’s draft.
Ezeli is a tough big man the Warriors desired.
The 6'11", 255-pound Ezeli from Vanderbilt is a big man whom the Warriors liked but didn't think would be available as the last pick in the first round. Ezeli is known for blocking shots—he set the record at Vanderbilt with 204 career blocked shots—and his rebounding ability.
Ezeli has an NBA body with his size and strength, and he has the toughness the Warriors were lacking in a big man. Ezeli should improve on what Ekpe Udoh provided for the Warriors before he was traded, as Ezeli has a stronger frame.
Look for Ezeli to work on his offense and try to get NBA ready in his first year. He was a favorite of Jerry West, so there is a lot of hope surrounding Ezeli. He will back up Andrew Bogut and his first action should be on the court in the NBA Summer League.
The Nigerian native will be happy for this homecoming of sorts, since he moved to the United States in 2004 and settled in Yuba City, about 40 miles north of Sacramento.
Draymond Green is a great all-around player.
The 6'7", 236-pound Draymond Green from Michigan State is looked at by some a complete steal and by others as a guy who doesn’t really fit into a position. Green has a tremendous basketball IQ and is willing to work hard in order to mold himself into a NBA player.
The “tweener” forward is undersized for a power forward and doesn't have the athleticism or necessary skills to be a full-time small forward. He definitely will be used off the bench and improve the Dubs second team. He can rebound well and has the smooth stroke to hit jumpers both in front of and behind the arc.
Green was projected to be a late first-round pick, so the Dubs got another steal of pick with their third choice. It is not a bad deal to get an AP All-American with the 35th choice in the 2012 NBA Draft.
The 7'0", 240-pound Ognjen Kuzmic, who last played for Clinicas Rincon (Spain), is one of the “draft and stash” players. He is very athletic for a big man, but at 240 pounds, he will have to work at maintaining an NBA body.
Kuzmic will not be joining the Dubs roster yet, as he is currently playing in the Spanish second division after signing a three-year deal before the 2011-2012 season. He will have to use that time to develop his skills
Kuzmic is a project and at the 52nd position in the draft, not much is expected of him. If he can develop some offensive skills to go with his shot-blocking ability, he could fit in nicely as a backup center, a much improved version of the current Andris Biedrins.
Bob Myers looked like a seasoned professional in his first draft as the Warriors GM. He did his due diligence and picked guys based on their strengths and team need. The Dubs are now a much better and deeper team.
The one drawback is that Jerry West wanted to have guys that were NBA-ready or package some of the picks for a proven talent. Since draft picks are usually gambles, it will take a while to see how this draft matures. These draftees do look like the most NBA-ready for their positions.
All in all, Myers understands what it takes to become a successful GM. And with the help of one of the best dynasty builders in Jerry West, things finally look good in Warriors camp. A perennial playoff team looks like it is in the making.
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