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Where Warriors', T-Wolves' 2021 draft picks stand after break originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Warriors could end up with a pair of first-round picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, but depending on how the standings and lottery shake out, they also could end up with none.
Such is the life of draft pick protections in the NBA, and all of the potential Warriors' upcoming selections could be impacted by the rest of the 2020-21 schedule.
Minnesota sent its 2021 first-round draft pick to the Warriors as part of the trade centered around D'Angelo Russell and Andrew Wiggins, but made it top-three protected in 2021.
The Timberwolves currently hold the worst record in the NBA (7-29) by a solid margin, and are the only team to finish the first half of the season with a winning percentage below .200.
According to the current odds involving the NBA draft lottery, Minnesota would have a 40.1 percent chance of ending up with a top-three pick if it ends up with one of the league's three worst records.
They'd also have a 59.9 percent chance of the pick winding up as the No. 4 or No. 5 overall selection if they maintain the league's worst record, which would mean it would be sent to the Warriors.
If the pick ends up being inside the top three, the Warriors then would be entitled to Minnesota's 2022 first-round pick without any protections.
NBC Sports Bay Area's James Ham released his 2021 NBA Mock Draft 3.0 earlier this week, and has USC's Evan Mobley being the fourth overall pick, with G League Ignite forward Jonathan Kuminga going at No. 5.
Mobley was the Pac-12's freshman, defensive and overall player of the year in 2020-21, averaging 16.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game for the Trojans. The Warriors drafted a center at No. 2 overall in the 2020 draft in James Wiseman, so it's very unlikely they would select another big man if Golden State ended up with the fourth pick.
Kuminga is part of the inaugural G League squad training in Walnut Creek, choosing to forgo college and has played 32.8 minutes per game for the Ignite team in the G League bubble in Orlando, Fla., scoring 15.8 points per game along with 7.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists.
A 6-foot-8 small forward, Kuminga hasn't been the most efficient player in the bubble but is just 18 years old and offers significant upside if he develops a consistent jumper and adapts to NBA defensive schemes.
The Warriors' own 2021 first-round pick would fall at No. 13 if the season ended today. However, if the Warriors climb up the Western Conference standings and the pick ends up outside the top 20, it will be sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the Kelly Oubre trade.
If the Warriors end up holding onto the pick by finishing with a pick inside the top 20, the Minnesota second-round pick also included in the Wiggins-Russell trade would go to Oklahoma City instead. That pick appears destined to be No. 31 overall unless the T-Wolves go on a winning streak.
Ham's latest mock draft has the Warriors picking at No. 14, and selecting Gonzaga's Corey Kispert. The small forward is one of college basketball's most deadly shooters, and as a senior, has the requisite experience to slide into a rotation for a contender right away, which the Warriors hope to be with Klay Thompson back in the lineup in 2021-22.
Kispert has shot over 43 percent in each of the past two seasons while taking over five 3-point attempts a game.
Finally, the Warriors' 2021 second-round pick is unprotected and will be sent to the Utah Jazz no matter what. The selection initially was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in order for the Warriors to move up and select Alen Smailagic in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft.
Given the top-20 protection of the Warriors' first-rounder, it wouldn't be the worst thing if the Warriors stayed in the middle of the pack in the West. But even if the pick ends up being somewhere between 21 and 30 and goes to OKC, the Warriors likely will end up with the No. 31 or 32 pick courtesy of the Timberwolves anyway.
Regardless, the eyes of every Warriors fan will be glued to the 2021 draft lottery, which will determine whether the organization will have a top-five pick for the second consecutive year, or a second first-round pick in 2022.