Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors Re-Draft: The Last 10 1st-Round Draft Picks in Hindsight

Josh FuCorrespondent IMay 25, 2011

Golden State Warriors Re-Draft: The Last 10 1st-Round Draft Picks in Hindsight

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Ekpe Udoh #29 of the Golden State Warriors in action against the Houston Rockets at Oracle Arena on December 20, 2010 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or usin
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    As dedicated NBA fans, we sometimes wonder about what could have been for our favorite teams. We put ourselves in the GM chair, often poring over countless mock drafts and "expert analysis" articles or screaming at the television after a questionable lottery pick. We dream of the possibilities that the NBA draft has to offer, wondering if this is the year that our favorite team will land the next LeBron James or Blake Griffin.

    Often, this is a fruitless exercise that only leads to disappointment and frustration. As a franchise that has made some of the most questionable drafting decisions in recent history, the Golden State Warriors have often left their fans scratching their heads after the draft. Here's a look at what could have been, Warriors fans.

2001: Jason Richardson, Fifth Overall Pick

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    OAKLAND, CA - MAY 03:  Jason Richardson #23 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after hitting a three pointer against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2007 NBA Playoffs on May 3, 2007 at Oracle Arena in
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Who They Should Have Drafted

    SF Gerald Wallace, drafted 25th overall by the Sacramento Kings

     

    As much as it pains me to admit it, Wallace has proved himself thus far to be the superior player in comparison to J-Rich, a fan favorite during his time with Golden State. Wallace, also known as "Crash," has developed from a raw athletic prospect into an elite player with versatile skills. He is one of the top defensive players in the league today, and even averaged a double-double for the 2009-10 season with 18 points and 10 rebounds a game for the Charlotte Bobcats. He would fit perfectly in the Warriors system with his freakish athleticism and knack for hitting the glass.

    To Richardson's credit, he has outperformed expectations, transforming himself from a player that was known only for his highlight dunks to a respected shooting guard with deadly range.

2002: Mike Dunleavy Jr., Third Overall Pick

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    LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 2:  Mike Dunleavy #34 of the Golden State Warriors stands on the court during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 2, 2003 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 87-72.  NOTE TO USER: User e
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Who They Should Have Drafted

    PF/C Amar'e Stoudemire, drafted ninth overall by the Phoenix Suns

     

    Actually, there are a lot of guys that the Warriors passed up in this draft for Dunleavy Jr. Nene, Caron Butler, Tayshaun Prince, Carlos Boozer and Luis Scola have all had better careers thus far than the sweet-shooting guard from Duke. This was a prime example of why it is important not to draft purely on performance at the collegiate level.

    Instead the Warriors could have taken a chance on a hyper-athletic youngster named Amar'e Stoudemire, who proceeded to take the NBA by storm his rookie year while dunking on anyone who dared to get in his way. Nine years later, Amar'e is averaging 25 points and two blocks per game with the New York Knicks, and has also added a lethal 18-footer to his offensive arsenal. Hands down, this is the worst Warriors draft flub of the past decade.

2003: Mickael Pietrus, 11th Overall Pick

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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 16:  Mickael Pietrus #2 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after scoring against the Sacramento Kings on November 16, 2006 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by do
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Who They Should Have Drafted

    PF David West, drafted 18th overall by the New Orleans Hornets

     

    "Air France," as Pietrus was dubbed in his time with the Warriors, never quite lived up to the hype or the nickname. A solid, athletic defender with three-point range, Pietrus has never been more than a role player in the NBA. Now with his third team, he has shown occasional brilliance but never any real consistency.

    In comparison, West does nothing spectacularly but is the model of consistency as the Hornets' go-to guy on offense. He can be regularly counted on for 20 points and nine rebounds per game, when healthy, and is one of the better post scorers in the NBA.

2004: Andris Biedrins, 11th Overall Pick

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    DENVER - JANUARY 05:  Andris Biedrins #15 of the Golden State Warriors warms up prior to facing the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on January 5, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 123-122. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowle
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Who They Should Have Drafted

    SF Josh Smith, drafted 17th overall by the Atlanta Hawks

     

    Three years ago, this selection may not have looked so bad. Three years and one hefty six-year contract extension later, Warriors fans are left scratching their heads when it comes to this Latvian center. Once a promising young player that averaged 12 points and 11 rebounds a game, Biedrins has become a shell of his former self in the past two seasons. He seems to have lost his passion for the game and this has translated to less playing time. Perhaps all he needs is a change of scenery to resurrect his career, but as of now his trade value is zilch.

    Smith came into the league as a raw high school player, but has found a way to utilize his immense athletic ability to become an effective scorer and a defensive force. He would fit perfectly in the Warriors' uptempo system, blocking shots on one end and finishing the break on the other in high-flying fashion.

2005: Ike Diogu, Ninth Overall Pick

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 07:  Ike Diogu #9 of the Golden State Warriors drives the ball as Kurt Thomas #40 and Shawn Marion #31 of the Phoenix Suns defend on December 7, 2005 at the Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Who They Should Have Drafted

    C Andrew Bynum, drafted 10th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers

     

    The argument could be made that the better selection here would be Danny Granger, All-Star small forward for the Indiana Pacers. However, in Bynum, the Warriors could have had their first legitimate center in decades to build a team around. At a hulking 7'0" feet and 285 pounds, Bynum is an intimidating shot-blocking presence and can score in a variety of ways in the paint. That is, when he actually manages to stay on the court. Bynum has averaged only 51 games per season for the last four seasons due to injuries.

    Diogu, on the other hand, has also carved out a niche for himself in the league, albeit as a journeyman role player. Now with the Clippers, his fifth NBA team, Diogu has found minutes hard to come by as a backup for Blake Griffin.

    Footnote: The Warriors managed to nab a guy named Monta Ellis in the second round of this draft, so not all was lost in 2005.

2006: Patrick O'Bryant, Ninth Overall Pick

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    NEW YORK - JUNE 28:  NBA Draftee Patrick O'Bryant attends the T-Mobile Basketball's Rising Stars Celebration at Tao Restaurant on June 28, 2006 in New York City.  (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images for T-Mobile)
    Matthew Peyton/Getty Images

    Who They Should Have Drafted

    PG Rajon Rondo, drafted 21st overall by the Phoenix Suns (traded to the Boston Celtics)

     

    Admittedly, 2006 was not a great year to be in the lottery. Andrea Bargnani as the first pick of the draft is a testament to that. The Warriors selection with the ninth pick is a prime example of how drafting based on needs can go horribly wrong. O'Bryant turned out to be a colossal bust of a big man. Surprisingly, he is still in the league, although he rarely makes an appearance on the court.

    Instead, the Warriors could have drafted Rondo out of Kentucky. After coming into the league as a speedy youngster without a reliable jump shot, Rondo has developed into one of the top assist men in the league and an All-Star floor general. One of the most confident players in the league, Rondo has the ability to impact the game in a myriad of ways.

2007: Marco Belinelli, 18th Overall Pick

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    OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 11:  Marco Belinelli #18 of the Golden State Warriors is in pain after an injury against the Indiana Pacers during an NBA game on January 11, 2009 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Who They Should Have Drafted

    SG/SF Wilson Chandler, drafted 23rd overall by the New York Knicks

     

    Warriors fans had high hopes for Belinelli after seeing him light it up in the summer league, only to be reminded later that it is, after all, just the summer league. After putting 37 points and five three-pointers in his first summer league game, Belinelli came down to earth during the regular season, as his ineptitude on the defensive end limited his minutes. Now with the New Orleans Hornets, Belinelli hasn't exactly flamed out as an NBA prospect, but he is probably more suited to be a role player than a starting shooting guard.

    Enter Chandler, who took some time to develop but has become one of the more versatile players in the league. Blessed with great size and athleticism, the Nuggets forward can score in a variety of ways and also impact the game on the defensive end.

2008: Anthony Randolph, 14th Overall Pick

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    DENVER - JANUARY 05:  Anthony Randolph #4 of the Golden State Warriors warms up prior to facing the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on January 5, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 123-122. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowle
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Who They Should Have Drafted

    PF Serge Ibaka, drafted 24th overall by the Seattle SuperSonics

     

    The jury is still out on Anthony Randolph's career. Now with his third NBA team, the immensely talented 21-year-old is still trying to figure out his place in the league. In two seasons with the Warriors, he flashed his potential to be a star player down the line, but was ultimately included in the trade that allowed the Warriors to acquire PF David Lee from the Knicks.

    In hindsight, it may have been better to draft Ibaka, who entered the draft as an extremely raw player with jaw-dropping athleticism. The chiseled Congolese forward is now a steady contributor on Oklahoma's star-studded roster, and has added a reliable jump shot to go with shot-blocking prowess and finishing ability. On a Warriors team that sorely needs an intimidating presence to man the middle and block shots, Ibaka would fill an immediate need.

2009: Stephen Curry, Seventh Overall Pick

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    OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 19:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors in action against the Indiana Pacers at Oracle Arena on January 19, 2011 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or us
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Who They Should Have Drafted

    Stephen Curry, drafted seventh overall by the Golden State Warriors

     

    Thanks to the ineptitude of David Kahn as a GM, Stephen Curry out of Davidson fell all the way to seventh in the 2009 draft. This should have been a no-brainer for the Warriors. Despite questions about his athleticism and ability to create his own shot, Curry has become one of the most promising young point guards in the NBA, showing better-than-advertised court vision and one of the sweetest three-point strokes in the league. Although he still needs to become a better defender and learn to limit his turnovers, the future is bright for Curry.

2010: Ekpe Udoh, Sixth Overall Pick

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    NEW YORK - JUNE 24:  Ekpe Udoh stands with NBA Commisioner David Stern after being drafted sixth by The Golden State warriors  at Madison Square Garden on June 24, 2010 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downl
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Who They Should Have Drafted

    PF/C Greg Monroe, drafted seventh overall by the Detroit Pistons

     

    Projected by many to still be available outside of the lottery, many Warriors fans were perplexed by this early selection of Udoh, an undersized 24-year-old who did not dominate at the collegiate level. So far, he has proven to be a premier shot-blocker that is truly lacking in most other aspects of his game.

    Monroe was described by many before the draft as not being athletic enough to succeed at the NBA level. All he did during the regular season was earn a spot on the All-Rookie second team, nearly averaging a double-double with 13 PPG and 10 RPG as a regular starter in the months of March and April. Look for continued growth from the smooth lefty in his second year, as the Pistons expect him to be their big man of the future.

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