NBA Draft 2011: NCAA Tourney Prospects the Golden State Warriors Should Target
The Golden State Warriors are an up-and-coming team that will be paying close attention to the NCAA tournament. With a young core that consists of Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis and David Lee, the Warriors are looking to add a few pieces so they can start to really make a splash in the NBA.
The Warriors could use upgrades at the small forward and center positions. Guys like Dorrell Wright and Andris Biedrins would be much more effective off the bench rather than as starters and the Warriors can make the playoffs and start to contend if they get starting-caliber players to play their positions.
With the NCAA tournament starting tonight, here's a list of players who could fill some needs for The City.
Terrence Jones (SF, Kentucky)
Terrence Jones is the guy who I think would be the best fit for the Golden State Warriors. The smooth lefty reminds me a lot of Lamar Odom. At 6'8'' and 244 pounds, Jones can handle the ball like a guard and he is capable of playing four positions on the court.
Jones would make a nice fit in the Warriors starting lineup. He is willing to pass the ball. Playing next to a guy like Monta Ellis, that is very necessary.
Jones is explosive getting to the rim and often draws fouls. His form is unorthodox on his jump shot, but he manages to find a way to put the ball in the hoop.
Terrence would be a huge upgrade at the small forward position for the Warriors. If he is available in the 2011 NBA Draft, don't be surprised if the Warriors take him off the board.
Marcus Morris (SF/PF, Kansas)
Marcus Morris has had a phenomenal season this year for Kansas. That success is likely going to land him on a lottery team.
Morris is a tweener, but he could make a nice fit starting at the small forward position for the Warriors. He'd be able to defend both small forwards and power forwards and his face-up game has been improving throughout the season. Marcus is a tremendous low-post scorer and he has shown range on his jump shot that sometimes even stretches out to the three-point line.
If Morris isn't drafted earlier, he could be a tough guy to pass up on for Golden State.
JaJuan Johnson (PF, Purdue)
JaJuan Johnson is supposed to be a power forward, but for the Warriors I can see him starting next to David Lee at the center position.
Johnson will need to bulk up a bit to play center in the NBA, but he has the talent and skill to play the position. Johnson is ridiculously athletic and his length along with great timing will make him a very good defender at the next level. On the offensive end, Johnson has nice touch around the rim and a very nice mid-range jump shot.
Johnson would be a risky pick for the Warriors if he can't play center, being that they are so invested in David Lee. But I strongly feel that, in their system, he could excel at the five.
Kyle Singler (SF, Duke)
Picking Singler where the Warriors are likely to be picking (around 11th in the first round) would be a bit of a reach, but he would fit in very well in Golden State.
Singler is one of the best players in college basketball and he immediately would be able to contribute in the fast-paced Warriors offense.
With Curry, Lee and Singler, the team would bleed basketball IQ and that is never a bad thing. Singler has a great shot from both mid-range and three and he is getting better at getting to the basket. When he wants to, he can create as well as a point guard.
He's a bit of a defensive liability, but who isn't on the Warriors?
Kawhi Leonard (SF, San Diego State)
Here's the guy who is going to turn even more heads in the tournament than he did during the regular season. Leonard is this year's versatile small forward who is going to will his team to a tournament run.
Leonard is around 6'7'' and he can do a little bit of everything on the floor.
He's a lock-down defender, a good rebounder and a relatively good scorer at the college level. I often question whether or not he will be able to score in the pros and then I think that he has a more complete offensive game than a guy like Shawn Marion, who is a similar player to him, but doesn't have as much skill.
Leonard would provide much needed defensive skills to a team that doesn't have much of those. If Ekpe Udoh could come along as a starting center for Golden State, then Leonard and Udoh would do a good job of balancing what Curry, Ellis and Lee do.
Non-Tournament Players to Consider
As for players who will not be playing in the tournament, the Warriors may consider some of the following:
Perry Jones: His recent suspension will probably diminish his value and he could be available when the Warriors are picking. Perry Jones was once considered the No. 1 pick in the draft and he is a very talented-but-raw player. At 6'11", he's very tall for a small forward and he will need to add some muscle to be a good player in this league. He also must improve his offensive skills, as he is scoring basically on raw athleticism at this point in his career.
Jonas Valanciunas: Valanciunas is the first true big man to come out of Lithuania in a while. His game is different than past foreign players in that he is a pure post player and not a guy who lives at the three-point line. Because he plays strictly in the post, he will need a few years to really start to play at an NBA level, but the Warriors have some time as they are rebuilding now anyway. They can afford to wait on a guy, similar to how the Thunder waited on Serge Ibaka.
Donatas Motiejunas: Motiejunas is a similar player to Andrea Bargnani. He's very thin and tall and he's a jump shooter with the ability to drive despite his 7'0'' height. He will certainly need to add at least 15 pounds of muscle to his small frame, but the success of Bargnani will make him a very intriguing option for the Warriors if he does fall to them.