The Golden State Warriors were active this offseason, making five key moves to improve the franchise and hopefully make the playoffs for the first time since their magical 2007 playoff run.
Golden State added four rookies and one veteran while losing only one player.
The team has made a qualifying offer to wing player Brandon Rush, who is now a restricted free agent. The Warriors will likely match any offer for Rush that is under the mid-level exception of $5 million annually.
Unless the Warriors somehow managed to land Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (who ended up going No. 2), the draft couldn't have gone any better for the Warriors.
Harrison Barnes was projected to go as high as No. 4 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Cavs rolled the dice on combo guard Dion Waiters, leaving Barnes to the Warriors.
Barnes fills a position of need at small forward and even managed to displace forward Dorell Wright from the team (we'll get to that later).
Barnes has the sweetest shot in the draft and showed off his athleticism at the draft combine as well. The 6'8" small forward averaged 16.8 points and 5.6 rebounds over five games in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He showed no trouble adjusting to the NBA three-point line, shooting 57.1% from the great beyond. However, he needs to improve on his overall shooting numbers in the regular season, as he shot a poor 39.5% from the field in the summer league.
Barnes was the best player available at No. 7 and also filled a position of need. Great move for Bob Myers and Co.
The last pick of the first round, Festus Ezeli will likely be called to improve the Warriors' frontcourt depth next season. Weighing in at 265 lbs, Ezeli has an NBA-ready body and a defensive mindset.
In 20.2 minutes of action each night during the summer league, Ezeli averaged just 4.4 points and 4 rebounds a game, not what the Warriors were expecting from their big man.
Ezeli will join Jeremy Tyler and Andris Biedrins as the backups in the post next season. Ezeli and Tyler are relatively inexperienced, and Biedrins has not shown promise since signing his big contract, so the Warriors will be relatively thin in the post next season.
Ezeli was the best big man available but will likely be a project for the team, just like Tyler.
Draymond Green was projected as a late first-round pick in many mock drafts and the Warriors came into some luck finding him at No. 35.
Green is a do-it-all player who is willing to play either forward position. He played four seasons under Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, one of the best in the NCAA, and that experience will prove invaluable to him. He had 6.4 points and 7.6 rebounds for the team in the Summer League and will provide invaluable frontcourt depth.
Again, the Warriors drafted the best player available who also filled a hole. Green may end up being the second-round steal of the 2012 Draft.
The forward was great in college, proving he could score from both inside and outside. In the opening round of the NCAA tournament, Green notched a triple-double, after doing the same in the opening round last season. Only two other players have had multiple triple-doubles in NCAA postseason play.
Who are they? Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson. Not bad company.
The Warriors decided to use the draft-and-stash strategy by drafting Kuzmic, knowing that he may not come over to the NBA for a few more seasons.
Though Kuzmic will provide frountcourt depth when he arrives in the United States, the Warriors could have done other things with this late second-round pick.
With Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, Andrew Bogut, and David Lee all earning over $9 million next season, the team is dangerously close to the luxury tax and could have traded this pick to a team in rebuilding in exchange for cash considerations.
Another option for the Warriors, who were looking to beef up their backcourt, would have been to draft point guard Scott Machado, who eventually went undrafted.
Passing over Machado doesn't look that bad taking the next move into consideration.
Though Wright started each of the last two seasons for the Warriors, the entrance of rookie Harrison Barnes likely meant that Wright would be coming off the bench. With Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush, the Warriors already have enough role players on the wings, so Wright proved expendable.
General Manger Bob Myers flipped Wright for some backcourt depth. Last season, Curry showed that he is injury-prone, and Jack is capable of being a starting point guard in this league. Jack averaged a career-high 15.6 points and 6.3 assists per game last season in the vacancy of Chris Paul.
The move also gives head coach Mark Jackson some flexibility, as he can have Jack play the point guard and Curry, a natural shooter, play the shooting guard at times.
Hopefully this doesn't push sophomore Charles Jenkins too far down the depth chart that he doesn't get the necessary playing time for him to grow.
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