Warriors' Complete 2021 NBA Draft Preview, Predictions

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 26, 2021

Warriors' Complete 2021 NBA Draft Preview, Predictions

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    The Golden State Warriors have the 2021 NBA offseason to bring their roster up to speed.

    Stephen Curry just played at an MVP level, and Draymond Green re-established himself as one of the league's top stoppers. Add a hopefully healthy Klay Thompson to the core, and Golden State might have a contending-caliber nucleus again.

    But the rest of the roster needs to catch up, and the Warriors can start that process at the upcoming draft.

    With a pair of lottery picks in hand, Golden State will be one of the teams to track at the talent grab. Here is where everything stands ahead of Thursday's event.

Draft Assets and Team Needs

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    Given the need for win-now talent, the Warriors are one of the most logical trade candidates at the draft.

    But the trade market might not be responding the way they hoped.

    "Bob Myers' front office has felt a...cool market for their package of picks Nos. 7 and 14," B/R's Jake Fischer reported. "... Canvassing sources around the league, it seems few veteran impact players are considered to be available at the moment."

    Golden State's best move might then be to keep picks Nos. 7 and 14 to either develop on its own or trade at a later date.

    Beyond a general need for depth, the Warriors should be in the market for extra shooting, another playmaker and, depending on how they handle James Wiseman's future, perhaps a big man as well.

Expert Mock Projections

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    If mock drafters are right, the Warriors will focus on the wings on draft night.

    Both The Athletic's Sam Vecenie and The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor have the Dubs drafting UConn scoring guard James Bouknight at No. 7.

    "Bouknight makes sense as a target," O'Connor wrote. "Shot creators are easy to find for the regular season, but only the best can carry over that ability to the playoffs. Bouknight can provide a spark as a scorer, and for the Warriors, he'd provide important depth behind Steph Curry."

    B/R's Jonathan Wasserman mocked Arkansas swingman Moses Moody at No. 7, although Bouknight was already off the board in his mock. Bouknight was also gone in the mock from SI.com's Jeremy Woo, who paired the Warriors with young wing Jonathan Kuminga from the G League Ignite.

    At No. 14, Vecenie, O'Connor and Wasserman all went with Oregon's three-and-D ace Chris Duarte, while Woo went with playmaking forward Jalen Johnson out of Duke.

Draft Predictions

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    It's tempting to predict a trade here, because the Warriors have as much win-now incentive as perhaps any team you'll ever find in the lottery.

    But the stars need to align for a trade to happen, and so far that's not the case.

    Assuming the Warriors stand pat, our crystal ball is in agreement with the experts: Bouknight at No. 7, Duarte at No. 14.

    Golden State badly needs more shot creation around Curry, and Bouknight packs a three-level scoring punch. Duarte might be devoid of upside—he's nearly four years older than Wiseman—but the Warriors can afford to live in the present and will accordingly appreciate his NBA-ready perimeter shot and defensive versatility.

    Remember, as long as the Dubs get these draft picks right, they can always trade the players acquired with them if the right target becomes available.

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