NBA Draft 2020: Who Warriors should take if they can't trade No. 1 pick

Dalton Johnson
NBC Sports BayArea

The Warriors' season came to a close when the NBA first shut down on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Their prep for the draft, however, only ramped up. 

For the first time in what feels like forever, the Warriors are guaranteed a top pick in this year's draft. Thanks to a NBA-worst 15-50 record, Golden State has a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick, tied for the best odds in the league. The Warriors also won't know just how high they pick until the lottery is held on Aug. 25. 

But in the case the Warriors do receive the top pick in the draft, which will be held on Oct. 16, what player should they add?

Trading the pick might be the fastest way to restart the Warriors' dynasty, but what if they can't find a team willing to make a deal? Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole and former Warriors general manager Garry St. Jean were tasked with playing GM for the day. They had to argue who they would take No. 1 overall if the Warriors had to keep their selection. 

St. Jean, who served as both a head coach and GM in the NBA, went the safest route. 

"They take the best player that they have up on their board," St. Jean said. "Don't worry about position. People get caught up in that. ... Take the best player."

Now, who's the top player on the Warriors' big board? There's no way to know, but Mullin and Poole both have their own evaluations. They argued between two big men, plus a long guard. 

James Wiseman, C, Memphis

Wiseman, the top recruit in the nation going into last season, only played three games as a freshman but it was enough for Mullin. The Warriors legend loved what he saw from the athletic center. 

"I like Wiseman. I just think he's the type of player that can come in immediately," Mullin said. "He runs the floor like a gazelle, he can finish around the rim. With that spread offense, he puts pressure on with those lobs and I think he'll block shots." 

The 19-year-old is listed at 7-foot-1 and 240 pounds. It was a small sample size, but he proved his talent by averaging 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game before NCAA violations forced him to leave Memphis and prepare for the draft. Golden State must have been impressed, too. The Athletic's Anthony Slater reported in early June that the Warriors already have met with Wiseman over Zoom.

"I like Wiseman because I can see him being able to produce on Day 1 with the things that he's good at," Mullin said.

Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC

Mullin and Poole agree the Warriors could go big with their top pick. But Poole has a different center in mind. Meet USC's Onyeka Okongwu.

"There's a guy at USC -- Onyeka Okongwu -- who reminds me a lot of Bam Adebayo in Miami," Poole said. "And Bam, as we all know, Bam is the kind of guy everybody wants to have on their team."

Adebayo, 22, turned into a star this season for the Heat. In his third year as a pro, he made his first All-Star Game, averaging 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Okongwu and Adebayo both are listed as small centers at 6-9, but they also both have 7-1 wingspans.

And Okongwu knows how to stuff a stat sheet, too. He averaged 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game as a freshman.

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Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State

The Warriors easily could decide to stay away from a big man. They already have a young one in Marquese Chriss and still believe in Kevon Looney. They also have shown they don't need a star center to win a title. 

If they continue their "small ball" philosophy, Haliburton could be the perfect choice. 

"The other guy I would consider is Haliburton, because he's a tweener," Poole said, "if you're looking for someone who can fill the gap with the loss of both Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston." 

Haliburton is listed at 6-5, and does just about everything well. As a sophomore, he averaged 15.2 points, 6.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game.

ESPN's Jonathan Givony reported Tuesday the Warriors are "high" on what Haliburton can do. His college coach also said Haliburton would be a great fit for Golden State. Perhaps the 20-year-old will be sharing the same back court as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson later this year.

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So ... who will it be?

Wiseman, Okongwu or Haliburton all would make the Warriors better. Any time you can add a young, talented asset, your franchise becomes stronger. 

The Warriors will have a tough decision to make, however, Poole believes they might have their eyes on his favorite big man.

"I think they'll go big," he said. "If they have a choice between my two guys, they'll go with Okongwu. He's a super athlete. In a draft where the top five, six, seven or eight guys aren't that far apart, I'm going with him."

NBA Draft 2020: Who Warriors should take if they can't trade No. 1 pick originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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