Warriors' Way Too Early 2021 NBA Draft Big BoardApril 8, 2021
Warriors' Way Too Early 2021 NBA Draft Big Board
The Golden State Warriors' outlook for the 2021 NBA draft is fascinating for a lot of reasons.
Chief among them is the fact it's unclear where this club will be selecting and how many picks it can make.
They'll almost certainly have their own first-round pick (it has top-20 protection or otherwise goes to the Oklahoma City Thunder), but there's a chance that will be their second selection of the night. Due to last season's Andrew Wiggins-D'Angelo Russell deal, the Warriors own the Minnesota Timberwolves' pick with only top-three protection.
That means Golden State could be selecting as early as No. 4, which puts almost every available prospect into consideration. For this exercise, though, we'll assume that pick doesn't convey and will instead focus on their top three prospects for their own pick, which should land near the middle of the opening round.
1. Davion Mitchell, PG/SG, Baylor
If the Warriors want to return to the championship ranks, they might as well target a champion, right?
Davion Mitchell's draft stock spiked arguably as high as anyone's during the 2021 men's NCAA tournament, as his two-way play helped spark Baylor to a national title.
He might be the best on-ball defender in the country, and his shooting development really improved his offensive outlook. In 2017-18, he averaged just 3.7 points and shot 28.8 percent from three at Auburn. This past season, his second with the Bears, he dialed those numbers up to 14 and 44.7, respectively.
He's a good enough catch-and-launch shooter that he could share the floor with Stephen Curry and a good enough distributor to spell the two-time MVP.
"The Warriors love to be able to occasionally push Curry off the ball, and getting another lead guard like [Mitchell] would let them do it even more," The Athletic's Sam Vecenie wrote. "He could play with Curry due to his defensive prowess."
2. Franz Wagner, SF, Michigan
The Warriors might have to pick a timeline at some point, but the ideal prospect would improve them now and have enough upside to brighten their future.
Franz Wagner might check both boxes.
He could step right into a rotation spot as an active off-ball defender with strong instincts and smooth mobility. Offensively, he's a smart passer—Golden State desperately needs more of those around Curry and Draymond Green—and a skilled finisher from close range.
Long term, Wagner's shooting represents his clearest path to potentially major improvement. He waged a constant war with inconsistency and shot just 32.5 percent from deep across two seasons with the Wolverines. But his mechanics are solid off of both the catch and the dribble. If he harnesses his shot, he could be a big-time offensive contributor down the line.
3. Ziaire Williams, SF, Stanford
Ziaire Williams' one-and-done run at Stanford was a mixed bag of intriguing flashes but more misses than hits. He needs more polish, which is part of the reason he doesn't sit atop this big board.
But he obviously has a spot on it due to what those flashes might become.
There are the makings of a three-and-D swingman with size (6'8"), handles and vision. He checks a ton of boxes when he has it rolling, and maybe there would be more of those good times with the Warriors than there were with a Cardinal club that went just 14-13 on the season.
This might hinge on Golden State's evaluation of his jumper. It looks good coming out of his hands, but the results weren't there at Stanford as he shot just 37.4 percent overall and 29.1 percent from range.