The 2020 NBA Draft comes with many questions given the league's uncertain financial situation and the unprecedented pre-draft process, but one query is clearly the most prevalent: What are the Golden State Warriors going to do with the No. 2 pick?
The return of a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson plus a rested Draymond Green put Golden State right back in title contention after sporting the NBA's worst record in 2019-20. On one hand, the Warriors can lock in a potential franchise player at No. 2, but on the other hand that 19- or 20-year-old may not be able to help them in their title quest this season. Therein lies the rub, and that's why every permutation of Warriors-related trades have made their way through the basketball universe over the past year.
Let's take a look at the Warriors options heading into the Nov. 18 draft.
Draft Anthony Edwards at No. 2
According to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, the Warriors are convinced enough of Edwards' star potential that they're expected to take him if he's still on the board at No. 2. You have to take every report with a grain of salt, keeping in mind that the Warriors could be feigning interest in top prospects to entice teams to trade up. That being said, Edwards makes sense for Golden State as a 6-5 wing who can play alongside the Splash Brothers and also serve as a secondary iso bucket-getter. There are questions about his motor and defensive ability, but getting into Golden State's culture should improve those areas.
Draft James Wiseman at No. 2
The more I think about it, the more Wiseman seems like the pick for Golden State if they keep it. Not only do they have a gaping hole at center (no offense Marquese Chriss, Kevon Looney and Alen Smailagic), but the Warriors are also looking for a player who can help win now and bridge the gap to the post-Steph-Klay-Draymond universe -- and Wiseman fits the mold. At worst he's a rim protector, versatile defender and lob threat. At best, he develops into a ball-handling, 3-point-shooting big who's a perennial All-Star. A source told me that Wiseman is most comfortable fitting into a team concept and not necessarily being "the guy," so going to Golden State seems like a perfect situation.
Draft LaMelo Ball at No. 2
I'm not as high on Ball as many draft evaluators, but his appeal is undeniable as a 6-7, playmaking guard whose confidence and basketball IQ are through the roof. Sure, he may need the ball in his hands more than the Warriors can currently accommodate, but his size and passing ability should allow him to play in any lineup configuration, at least on the offensive side. It also makes sense for the Warriors to take Ball if they're unable to make a trade before the draft, because he would be a valuable asset if the Warriors want to make an "all-in" deal later in the season.
Trade down for a veteran piece
If you listen to the scuttlebutt, you'd think the Warriors like basically every prospect in this draft. There could be some truth to that in the sense that without a no-brainer top pick, the best player in this draft could end up being selected outside of the top two. If that's the case, the Warriors could be best served by trading down just a spot or two -- say if Charlotte really wants Wiseman or the Bulls fall in love with LaMelo -- and taking a prospect like Deni Avdija, Obi Toppin or Tyrese Haliburton while picking up a veteran piece in the process. Here's an example of a trade that could make sense for Charlotte and Golden State:
- Miles Bridges
- No. 3 pick
- No. 2 pick
- Jordan Poole
Again, this would be under the assumption that Charlotte desperately wants Wiseman, Ball or Edwards. You get the idea, though. Warriors trade down a spot or two and pick up someone who can help right away as the price of doing business.
Trade down for future assets
Another option would be to trade down, but instead of picking up a veteran player the Warriors would get a future draft pick or two. Think about when the Celtics had the No. 1 pick but knew their top guy (Jayson Tatum) would be available at No. 3. They traded down and picked up a first-round pick in the process. Golden State could take a similar approach if they think one of their main targets will still be on the board later in the draft, getting both the player they want and an asset they can use themselves or in another trade down the line. The Detroit Pistons are reportedly looking to move up from No. 7, and while their veteran talent may not be appealing to the Warriors, a future Pistons first-rounder with light protections could be an enticing trade chip.
Trade the No. 2 pick and Andrew Wiggins for a star
The idea of dealing the Warriors trading their pick for another All-Star-level player has been on people's minds since Curry went down with an injury just four games into last season. Pulling off a deal of this nature would likely necessitate involving Wiggins and his massive salary in the deal, which may not be an appealing option for whatever team is on the other side. Let's look at a few targets who may or may not be available.
The Pelicans are reportedly open to trading Holiday, a borderline All-Star who's widely considered to be one of the best defenders in the NBA. He can guard multiple positions and is a capable shooter and ball-handler, skills that the Warriors (or any team) would gladly bring aboard. The questions are whether the Warriors think Holiday is worth the No. 2 pick, and whether New Orleans is willing to take Wiggins back in the deal.
The Wizards have made it known that Beal is not on the trade block ... yet. As we know too well, however, it just takes one trade demand and suddenly the sweepstakes begin. Beal is an ideal fit on any contender, coming off a career scoring season and capable of being a secondary ball-handler. The Wizards might not get a better offer than the No. 2 pick, even if it means taking on Wiggins' contract in the process. If the Warriors think Beal will become available later in the season, that could serve as more motivation to draft a player at No. 2 that they can include in an eventual deal.
This is a popular fake trade among NBA Twitter, but it's hard to imagine the 76ers doing it, particularly with Daryl Morey now at the helm. Still, you never say never in the NBA, and even thinking of facing a lineup of Curry, Thompson, Green and Simmons is absolutely frightening. For Philly to consider a deal, the Warriors might have to include Minnesota's 2021 first-rounder, which they probably wouldn't do given next year's loaded class of prospects.
OK, we're being a little liberal with the term "star" here, but there's good reason to believe Gordon could thrive in all the space created by the Warriors offense in his native Bay Area. Defensively he would be a huge asset, adding another Swiss army knife next to Green. If the Magic have interest in Ball or Edwards becoming their franchise player, some combination of Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross and Evan Fournier plus the No. 15 pick for Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and No. 2 could be in play.