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Five players Warriors could target with No. 14 draft pick originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Warriors had a 2.4 percent chance of moving up into one of the top four picks in the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery. That didn't happen. Shocking, I know.
Alas, Golden State stayed put. Slotted 14th going into the draft lottery, the Warriors emerged with precisely that -- the No. 14 overall pick. They also have the seventh pick, courtesy of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With two lottery picks, the Warriors have two chances to add another promising young player to their current core. It's crucial that they hit on both, as they're very limited in terms of other ways to add talent to next season's roster.
With the seventh pick, the Warriors should have their choice of several prospects that fall into the consensus second tier of the draft class. There are no sure-fire future All-Stars in that group, but plenty of talent and high ceilings. It's possible that tier could extend to 14, though at that point, Golden State's options likely will be far more limited.
Here are five players the Warriors should consider drafting with the 14th overall pick:
Corey Kispert, SG/SF, Gonzaga
Steph Curry is the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA, and when Klay Thompson makes his long-awaited return from injury, the Warriors will once again have the two best shooters in the league. But teams can never have enough shooting, and that's precisely what Kispert provides.
Widely regarded as the best shooter in the draft class, Kispert already possesses an above-average (and potentially elite) NBA skill. He will be able to step in right away as a rookie and help space the floor, which the Warriors could use more of. Kispert will never be confused for an elite athlete (by NBA standards) and has a ways to go as a defender, but he offers good size (6-foot-7) and plenty of experience. At 22 years old, Kispert is one of the oldest players in the draft, but for a Warriors team intent on competing for a championship, that could be a great fit.
Josh Giddey, Point Forward, Adelaide
The Warriors don't need any more projects. They need players who are ready to go right now. And in Giddey, there's no question that he is.
Giddey won't turn 19 until October, but he has already proven that he can hold his own against older competition. He had a tremendous season in the Australian NBL, averaging nearly 11 points, seven assists and seven rebounds per contest, while becoming the youngest player in league history to record a triple-double. He led the league in assists and ranked sixth in rebounding.
Giddey needs to improve his shot and get in an NBA weight room, but his knack for playmaking doesn't grow on trees. At 6-foot-8, he offers an intriguing skill set in an unusual package, and seemingly would fit in very well with Golden State.
James Bouknight, Combo Guard, Connecticut
The Warriors have three backcourt spots for next season locked down in Curry, Thompson and Jordan Poole. And given the composition of the 2021 draft class, it seems likely that they'll add at least one more backcourt player with their lottery picks. Bouknight probably would be a bit of a reach at seven, but he could be a steal at 14.
Bouknight is a bucket. His bag is full. Scoring will never be an issue with him. If he can improve as a perimeter shooter, he will be awfully tough to stop. He's marginally larger and longer than Poole, but gets the job done in a different way. On one hand, those two might be too redundant. On the other, they could form an intriguing backcourt duo on the second unit.
Usman Garuba, PF/C, Real Madrid
Like Giddey, Garuba has already displayed an NBA skill set against elevated competition. The 19-year-old big established himself as one of the best defenders in all of Europe while playing for Real Madrid and projects as a future All-Defensive Team player in the NBA. He's very fluid in his movements, has excellent fundamentals and can play multiple positions.
If Garuba was more developed from an offensive standpoint, he'd likely go much higher. But even though he remains a work in progress on that end of the court, he should be able to step in right away as a rookie as an above-average pick-and-roll and interior defender. Of course, the Warriors just drafted James Wiseman, so why would they use another lottery pick on someone who he probably can't share the court with?
Well, for one, Golden State needs additional depth behind Wiseman, particularly given his ongoing recovery from a torn meniscus. And secondly, it's possible the Warriors might just view him as the best remaining player available, which is probably what they should be prioritizing at 14.
Kai Jones, PF/C, Texas
Jones jumps off the screen. At 6-foot-11, he offers tremendous length, but he's far more skilled than your average sophomore big. Though he is an effective rim runner and shot-blocker, he also has the ability to put the ball on the floor and shoot from the perimeter. He is an explosive athlete who is still quite raw but managed to shoot 38.2 percent from 3-point range this past season for the Texas Longhorns.
Jones is by no means a finished product, and might have the highest ceiling of any player that falls outside of the first five overall selections. If the Warriors take him at 14, that's precisely what they'll be banking on.
He and Wiseman probably can't play together -- and definitely can't next season -- but Jones has the potential to become a more valuable asset than any other prospect in this range. And remember, no matter who the Warriors select at 14, it won't necessarily be for themselves.