One win down the stretch, one bad coin flip or one smart general manager would have prevented this from ever happening.
When the Golden State Warriors drafted Harrison Barnes in 2012, they had already won. Sure the North Carolina product hadn't set foot on an NBA court yet, but the Warriors had still landed a marquee talent—an automatic top-three pick in a typical draft year—when they could have just as easily walked away with nothing.
Barnes is now one of the most promising young players in the league, and the Warriors' future looks so much brighter now that he is in the fold.
The Warriors are not strange to young, potential-filled ballers. Along with 20 years of futility comes 20 years of high draft picks.
Of course, bad drafting also comes along with 20 years of futility, but those poor picks aren't necessarily bad rookies. Many of them are traded, fail to develop year-by-year or succumb to injuries and off-the-court issues.
The following is not a list of the five young players who went on to become the biggest stars. Rather, it is a list of the highest-potential prospects to play their rookie seasons in Oakland. The criteria are potential entering rookie season, rookie-year performance and potential after rookie season.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com