The Warriors enter the 2020 NBA Draft in an odd spot for a team that owns the No. 2 overall pick. Golden State has championship aspirations, they're the last thing from a rebuilding organization.
This draft also doesn't have a sure-fire star this year. Dangling the No. 2 pick and listening to trade offers could make the most sense for the Warriors. By doing this they could try to acquire an established veteran or move down the draft and add more assets.
Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman seems to have found the perfect trade partner for the Warriors in his latest mock draft. Wasserman has the Warriors trading back to No. 8 in the draft, propelling the New York Knicks up to the second pick. In this scenario, point guard LaMelo Ball heads to the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, and the Warriors pick Florida State wing Devin Vassell. Golden State also adds the No. 27 overall pick, the Dallas Mavericks' 2021 first-round pick and point guard Frank Ntilikina.
That's a huge win for the Warriors.
"The Warriors could use another three-and-D forward, and Vassell has become the most appealing one in the draft after shooting over 40 percent from 3 in both of his collegiate seasons and consistently making advanced defensive reads, rotations and plays on the ball," Wasserman wrote.
"He'd improve the Warriors' athleticism, give them another shot-maker and strengthen their team defense with his IQ and playmaking."
Vassell might be the perfect fit for Steve Kerr's team. He's a 6-foot-6 small forward with a 6-foot-10 wingspan who can be both a defensive demon and sharpshooter from deep. Vassell averaged 12.7 points per game as a sophomore and shot 41.7 percent from 3-point range over his two years at Florida State. He has a high release point on his shot, using his long arms to his advantage.
NBA teams will love Vassell's instant impact on defense first and foremost. He's tenacious on that side of the ball, averaging 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game his final college season. He had a 93.6 defensive rating as a sophomore.
New film room style breakdown on Devin Vassell, one of the best wing defenders in the draft. There’s a lot to like about Vassell’s defensive versatility and off-ball playmaking at 6-7 with a 7-0 wingspan. The FSU wing averaged 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks in just 28.5 minutes. pic.twitter.com/xVR9RmUAK5— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) September 22, 2020
Ntilikina also fills a hole for the Warriors as well. Sure, he hasn't lived up to his status as the No. 8 pick in the 2017 draft, but he certainly has a place in the NBA. He's only 22 years old, and averaged career highs in points (6.3) and steals (0.9) while averaging just 20.8 minutes per game. The former first-rounder also had the best shooting year of his young career, making 32.1 percent of his 3s, and had a 45.9 effective field goal percentage.
The Warriors need a backup point guard behind Steph Curry and Ntilikina could be the long, defensive-minded option that perfectly fits Kerr's system. The young guard is 6-foot-4 but has a ridiculous 7-foot-1 wingspan. He also had his best defensive plus-minus (0.4) of his three-year NBA career this past season.
A change of scenery and learning under Kerr and Ron Adams could be perfect for Ntilikina.
Watching from afar, the Warriors have seen how teams like the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics win in the playoffs with versatile, switchable wings. Vassell could step in right away and be an option off the bench or fit a small-ball lineup that consists of Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green. Add in Ntilikina and two more first-round picks, and that's a hell of a deal for the Warriors.
If the Knicks have their eyes on adding a big name like Ball, Bob Myers should be calling New York right now to get this deal done.