The 2012 NBA Draft isn't even 24 hours old, but at this very moment, I have to say that I'm feeling pretty good about my hometown team, the Golden State Warriors.
As even a casual fan of the W's knows, some of the team's draft picks over the past few years (save Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson), to put it nicely, have been a bit suspect. But less than a day removed from this draft, I think the Warriors may have gotten this one right.
Harrison Barnes - 7th overall - The forward from UNC was the obvious pick for the W's in this spot. Leading up the draft, everything that I was reading seemed to have the Warriors taking Syracuse's Dion Waiters, but the guard went fourth to Cleveland, allowing Barnes to slip to seven. It seems like Dorell Wright will most likely be moved during the off-season, which means that the W's had a need for a starting small forward, and Barnes should be able to step in to that roll right away. The kid is a scorer, but with Curry and Thompson on the floor with him at the same time, let's see if he'll be able to get some shots.
Festus Ezeli - 30th overall - From everything I'm reading, the Warriors' front office was targeting the big man with the 30th pick the whole way, and not unlike Barnes, it seems like Ezeli should be able to contribute immediately. In fact, I would think he's already going to get the most minutes at the five-position behind Andrew Bogut (but when Jeremy Tyler and Andris Biedrins are your competition…). Also, when first talking to the Bay Area media after he was drafted, Festus said he would "run through a wall" for his new team. What's not to like about that?
Draymond Green - 35th overall - I keep talking about how these draft picks should be able to play right away, but I think that it's Michigan State's Green who will actually have the most impact on the court in his rookie season. I got to watch quite a bit of Green during his time at MSU, and he most certainly looks NBA ready to me. He'll be able to come off the bench at multiple positions, and I have no doubt that he will be a key contributor to the W's this year.
Ognjen Kuzmic - 52nd overall - Yup, I definitely had to Google how to spell the center's name. He's 22, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and if we ever see him in a Warriors' uniform, it won't be for many years. You don't need four rookies on a team. I'm on board with this draft-and-stash pick.
Now I know that we haven't seen Harrison, Festus, and Draymond play at all yet in the NBA, but as I've stated, I'm pretty optimistic about this draft class, and think that, if they mesh well with starters Curry, Thompson, Bogut, and David Lee, all should see significant minutes during the 2012-2013 season. It actually reminds me a bit of the Warriors' 2001 draft class of first-rounders Jason Richardson and Troy Murphy, and second-rounder Gilbert Arenas, who, even if they didn't all have great success with the W's, all had fairly nice NBA careers (as long as you can look past people pulling guns in the locker room).
Thankfully, this was not one of those classic head-scratching Warriors' drafts (as Patrick O'Bryant was allowed nowhere near it), and it looks like, (I really, really hope), the W's may have things going in the right direction.
Tim Kawakami, "Without Going Out of Their Way, Warriors Get Most of what They Wanted," MercuryNews.com