Warriors' Top Targets at Pick No. 7 in 2021 NBA Draft

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 22, 2021

Warriors' Top Targets at Pick No. 7 in 2021 NBA Draft

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Decision time is approaching for the Golden State Warriors.

    Over the following week, they'll have to choose whether to keep one, both or none of the lottery picks they hold in the 2021 NBA draft. They would reportedly prefer to trade the picks for an established, win-now player, per Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle, but it's possible the trade market never offers what they're after.

    If Golden State keeps the No. 7 pick, the following three prospects are worth a long look.

James Bouknight, SG, Connecticut

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    Robert Franklin/Associated Press

    While Stephen Curry spent the 2020-21 season redefining offensive brilliance, his teammates struggled to move the needle at that end. Even though the Warriors rostered the scoring champion, they still finished 20th in offensive efficiency.

    That speaks to the team's need for non-Curry shot-creation, an itch that a healthy Klay Thompson can't really help scratch.

    But James Bouknight could. He can find his shots whenever he wants against set defenses and in transition, and he can score from all three levels.

    The 20-year-old could lead Golden State's second unit already next season if the coaching staff can hone his playmaking ability.

Davion Mitchell, PG/SG, Baylor

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    With Golden State eyeing a title run in 2021-22, Davion Mitchell's perceived readiness makes him an obvious target.

    The 22-year-old just helped steer Baylor to a national title with smothering on-ball defense, ignitable offense and a three-point shot that was always there when needed (44.7 percent). All of those traits should translate to his first NBA team.

    He is arguably the best defensive prospect in this draft, which should hold obvious appeal to the Warriors. They need someone who can help cover Curry's shortcomings at that end, and they won't want to lean too heavily on Thompson for that after he lost back-to-back seasons to leg injuries.

    On offense, Mitchell can play a complementary role built around spot-up shooting, slashing and ball-moving when the Warriors' stars are on the floor. When they're off, he can take charge of the offense with handles to break down defenders, athleticism to finish around the rim and vision to find open teammates.

Jonathan Kuminga, SF/PF, G League Ignite

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    For most of the past year, Jonathan Kuminga was regarded as a top-five player in this draft.

    But recently, draft insiders hear he might be slipping out of that tier. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported the Orlando Magic like Florida State's Scottie Barnes at No. 5, while the Oklahoma City Thunder might prefer Bouknight at No. 6.

    What happens if Kuminga slips to No. 7? Well, the Warriors would hope their phones are blowing up with teams looking to move up to add the 18-year-old with elite athleticism and a towering ceiling.

    But if the calls aren't coming in, Golden State should give him serious consideration. He lacks offensive polish, but his potential is through the roof. If the Warriors think he can be a star and the other prospects on their board cannot, that would be awfully hard to pass up even if they're unsure how much he could help the current core.

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