Aug. 24, 2020
Who should the Warriors pawn the number two pick for?
The Warriors won the draft lottery on Thursday night for all intents and purposes. Before this season, the Golden State Warriors were in the NBA Finals for the previous five seasons and won three NBA Titles. This year the Warriors had everything go wrong for them including injuries to key players, the loss of Kevin Durant, and a roster that was going through turnover. The Warriors landed the number two pick in the upcoming draft, while they could draft one of the rising stars like LaMelo Ball or Obi Toppin, it would seem more reasonable for the Warriors to trade their pick for a star player. The Warriors have multiple star players that are either in their 30’s or about to be, they are in “win now” mode and will do whatever they can to assure that they build a roster that fits that labeling. Here is a list of players that the Warriors should strongly consider trading the 2nd pick in exchange for.
Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, or Al Horford
The 76ers are in complete turmoil right now. To say they underachieved this season would be an understatement, finishing with the 6th best record in the Eastern Conference and getting swept by the Boston Celtics in the playoffs. The group they have right now is clearly not the answer and they need to consider moving on from some, if not all, of their star players.
Joel Embiid is the most likely to stay in Philly but the organization doesn’t want to commit to Embiid for the foreseeable future. Embiid also would give Philadelphia the best haul in a trade if they were to move on from him. The Warriors would have to throw in a bench player or a later pick in addition to the 2nd pick to land Embiid but it would be well worth it as Joel Embiid would provide an inside presence to a roster that already has the splash brothers draining threes.
Ben Simmons has also struggled to develop an outside shot and many links his lack of improvement to trade rumors. The Golden State Warriors would also love to have Simmons on the inside just like Joel Embiid and would likely not have to surrender more than the number two pick.
Al Horford is the least desirable of the three and has less value as this season proved that Al Horford is declining. However, it’s very easy to forget how much of an impact Horford had on the Boston Celtics. Horford was one of the best big men in the league and could also hit an occasional outside shot. The Warriors wouldn’t need a star but someone who fits in their system, Al Horford would be asked to do much and would still have a major impact on the title-contending team.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Kevin Love + Andre Drummond
Since LeBron left Cleveland, the Cavs have seen a tough road to rebuilding their roster. They have drafted young, promising talent but still hold on to veterans like Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr, Tristan Thompson, and Andre Drummond. A transaction with the Warriors can put the Cavaliers in a complete rebuild and give them the picks to be contenders in the future.
Kevin Love makes sense in Golden State. It’s easy to forget that Kevin Love was offered to the Warriors when he was in Minnesota for Klay Thompson and other players that the Warriors didn’t want to move on from. Kevin Love fits ideally in the Warriors system, a perimeter shooter who can also get key rebounds when added to what the Warriors already have, the offense would become incredibly difficult to stop.
Kevin Love is no longer the elite player that he used to be and it wouldn’t be worth it for the Warriors to trade a potential great for a declining player. Enter Andre Drummond, another big man that is also declining. Drummond can’t carry a team but can be a key contributor for a Warriors squad. We saw the role that DeMarcus Cousins played in Golden State and how dangerous he made the starting lineup. Andre Drummond can even be better since he wouldn’t be on a minutes restriction or having to come back from an injury.
Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo
This is a fantasy move but one the Warriors would try to make possible. The Bucks are in the middle of a title run and are hoping to win before Giannis leaves for free agency (2021 is when Giannis is available for anyone to sign). Likewise, it might be questionable if the Warriors would be willing to risk trading the top pick for a player that can likely leave in the following offseason. That being said, Giannis is one of the top players in the NBA and the Warriors will do whatever they can to land the freakishly athletic player from Greece.
The Bucks in all likelihood would ask for a king's ransom if they were to shop Giannis. Just like when the Pelicans traded Anthony Davis to the Lakers last offseason, they asked for more than just the top-five draft pick (they ended up landing Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart in the process). The Warriors would have to trade the number two overall pick, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney, another bench player, and possibly one of their stars like Klay Thompson or Draymond Green. We know the Warriors would be willing to take the risk, the question is if the Bucks would want to part with the best player their franchise has seen since Kareem Abdul Jabbar (A.K.A. Lew Alcindor). This possibility is the most intriguing and would make the Warriors immediate favorites to win the title.