Five Prospects I would love to see on the Warriors… and how they could potentially fit in with the current team.

Who are some prospects that could help bring Steph and the Warriors back to the promised land ?

The time is nigh, Warriors fans; the NBA Draft Lottery is Today! The Dubs are guaranteed a Top Five pick in what many are saying is an incredibly weak draft. The good news is that Golden State already have an established core of Champions, and are more in “re-load” mode than “rebuild” mode. Here are five top prospects that I would love to see on the Warriors:

1. Anthony Edwards- Ant-Man. ANT. MAN. In my previous story from last year, I had Edwards as my #1 player, and that belief still stands. Even though Edwards plays a big combo-guard style ( and the Warriors have the best guard tandem in the league, easily) I would still draft Ant Man with the first overall pick if I were the Dubs. The scouting still stands, but I want to go a little more in depth thus I offer you this :

This film is great! Edwards breaks down film with Mike Schmitz of ESPN and there are a couple of observations I would like to point out. First, Edwards is smiling, engaging, and is very observant in conversation; he seems like a really positive, confident, outgoing young man. When contemplating how someone might fit into a locker room , the 8:07 mark of the video sheds some light on character. When analyzing a play, Schmitz remarks that Edwards might have been able to find another way to get to the rim. ( Run it back) Edwards, however, states that he should have PASSED the ball to the corner. Listen to Edwards remarks on his teammate, though; that is the key! Anthony says that his teammate will always make it, is automatic, much in the clutch baby ( he didn’t go that far, but I embellish). It is that thought process, that mindset, that will allow him to thrive with the Warriors. His comments are indicative of an athlete who is able to put team over self, and is willing to put his teammate over; that is Golden State Warriors Basketball. Edwards immediately brings incredible one on one offense, transition floor running, and the potential to become a defensive perimeter plus player. He really needs to work on that shot selection, though. For a player who can get to the rim at will, he settles for those Dion Waiters esque jumpers(Last minute Edit: I saw Edwards rank Kyrie above Steph recently… that legitimately knocks him down just a bit in my book. Also talked about not liking KD to the Warriors. Basketball is a sport. The NBA is a business.

2. Onyeka Okongwu- The more film I watch of Okongwu, the more I like him as a potential fit on the Warriors. The biggest question marks surround what position he would play, and what value the Warriors put on that position. Personally, I believe Okongwu has the potential to quickly become a double double machine, with the ability to defend perimeter players in switch situations, as well as body up true centers at the rim. Let’s look at a couple of moments that could be indicative of a very solid future starter :

Starting at the 1:00 mark, for two consecutive plays, Onyeka gets to the rim which his defender is on the ground after contact. Onyeka is very strong, and is a strong jumper as well. In an interview for ESPN, Okongwu said that he had balloon upwards of 275 lbs due to an Achilles injury. He is a big kid naturally. In high school he more than held his own with Zion, and he plays with great strength. The real upside with Onyeka is that, if he worked out and turned into a Bam Adebayo-lite at the 5 position, the Warriors could trot out a Steph-Klay-Wiggins-Draymond-Onyeka lineup that is athletic, strong, versatile, and has the potential for sustained runs on the floor resulting in plus play from the Warriors. I actually think he is an underrated passer, although he doesn’t currently have the ability to spread the floor currently with his jump shot. Onyeka is a capable high post passer, and really understands his position and spacing.

In the end, it is Okongwu’s ability to protect the rim, and provide easy buckets via spacing , that determine his value with the Warriors.

3. Isaac Okoro- The second I looked at Okoro’s defensive highlight and record, I moved hi above Deni on my top 5 list. This is an athlete who knows how to win, and takes defense personally (oh, how I love that !).

Isaac Okoro has almost a savant ability to navigate screens on defense. He is able to absorb contact with the screen-er and athletically re route on trajectory with primary ball handler. Evidence is seen in this video:

In the 3:35 mark in this video, you can see Okoro ( #4) in the Nike Hoops Summit, guarding Nico Mannion . He easily absorbs and deflects the screen, and proceeds to block Mannion’s shot. I hope that Warriors Coach Steve Kerr ( a Wildcats alum) and GM Bob Myers were watching that game…

Regardless, whenever I think that I am rating Okoro too high ( it’s up to preference, but I’d think he’s more of a mid to late lottery talent on team’s boards) , I look at this defensive highlight mix. If Okoro can become a defensive stopper (I’m talking about 1–5 with how the NBA is trending), he would be worth this pick. Klay and Steph are the Splash Brothers, Okoro(or Onyeka for that matter) and Draymond could be the Bash Brothers baby!

4. Deni Avdija- Deni! As with Ant Man, I had a previous write up of Deni that still pretty much stands today; I have linked my previous article to this one at the bottom, so please check that out for a more in-depth report on Deni. I saw Deni’s playoff game just over a month ago, and here are some more recent observations on his game (vs. Hapeol Tev Aviv) :

The Good-

Avdija’s shot looks good ! He has a relatively quick and high release, which should lead to consistent fg’s.

Deni hits the glass consistently. Deni shows good aggressiveness and ups when it comes to rebounding, both offensively and defensively.

He likes to run. Something I really appreciate about Deni’s game is that he likes to create transition opportunities when he gets a defensive rebound. It really looks as if he likes to push tempo, as he plays on his toes and light on the heel, literally.

I liked that he responded eventually when challenged; this is indicative of character and competitiveness. Avdija was picked up full court by his man on multiple occasions. He was able to make the right play more often than not.

Deni definitely understands defensive positioning. He looked good on his rotations from what I could see.

Avdija is definitely an above average passer.

The Bad-

He has a high, loose dribble… right now. I don’t think that he is a point forward. If the Warriors are looking for someone who can bring up the ball in transition… that, Deni can do. If the Dubs are looking for a player who can make plays for others on the regular, Ala Igoudala…Deni is not going to be that guy.

He started to pout when his team faced adversity. This was actually the biggest concern for me. Avdija visibly sulked as Hapoel Tel Aviv made several runs to get back into the game.

Avdija just isn’t there yet. One can tell that is game isn’t NBA ready, which is going to really, really frustrate Dubs fans.

Bottom line with Deni Avdija:

Deni Avdija is more Mike Dunleavy Jr. than Luka Doncic. Is that worth investing a top 5 pick with this current team? That’s a tough one.

5. Killian Hayes- I cannot believe that I am putting Hayes above James Wiseman right now. I’m a crazy guy, though, and I rank Hayes potential as extremely high in numerous categories:

Hayes has a very tight dribble and is very hard to take off of the ball. He is clearly well instructed, as he dribbles backwards to create space and redirect his point of attack. My coach and teacher at Piedmont High School used to watch Steve Nash and Jason Kidd in person all the time; he would tell us “ a great point guard has more than one speed… the other speed necessary is backwards.” This is probably why Hayes makes his defender fall often off of the dribble(Check his highlights below!).

Killian Hayes is a ball hawk! Not only does he fully grasp man and team rotation responsibilities, Hayes seems to bait the passer into easy interceptions; he has incredibly active hands on defense.

In interviews, Hayes has stated that he watches a lot of Manu tape; that is PERFECT for the young man! He absolutely looks like Manu at the :40 mark of the clip below! The cynic in me can also find footage of Dajuan Wagner that looks like Dwayne Wade… Rafer Alston footage that looks like Kyrie, etc... Hayes film in consistent, though. If a team invests into his potential, they could get a really wonderful player. The ability to play 1–3, team and man defense, and play with or without the ball could be a steal for the Warriors. In a perfect world, Killian Hayes would come off the bench for the Warriors and essentially do whatever was needed to get the “W”. Defense, scoring, play-making… Hayes has the potential to do it all in that Manu type role.

Other Random Draft Notes:

James Wiseman- I stand by my notes (and my sources ) on Wiseman, and I hope I am wrong. In an ideal world, I hope the Warriors draft him, and he’s a better David Robinson! I’m just totally not sold on his motor and ability to dominate the post. To me, there’s not much wiggle room when it comes to post play; either you establish your play and own, or are non functional. The Warriors CANNOT draft another Udoh, POB, Todd Fuller, Adonal Foyle… or even DJ ( I get he was a late first though and a bit different) . This player has to be able to ball out from day one. I still rate Wiseman in my top 10 prospects though, no doubt! When he is on, he dominates. That is probably what irks me about when he doesn’t dominate, it’s like… I know you can… if you get what I mean.

Also, I hear that he has been putting on like, 25 plus pounds? Why?Legitimately he needs to be putting those hours into defensive rotations, rebounding drills and and possible sports psych. It seems like I’m leaning into him right now because I am; it’s tough to see a guy so gifted drift for long periods of time. Bottom line, I don’t want Wiseman to end up like Dwight on this play linked below:

LaMelo Ball- I really like Lamelo Ball’s ability and style; I have always liked Lonzo and LaMelo! Lamelo has a good feel for the game, and is always looking to push tempo. It is that reason why it would be fun to see him run and gun on he Warriors; I can see him rebounding the ball, taking two dribbles and hitting a 1/2 court pass to a Splash Brother for a transition three. His defense and ball dominant mentality are the two aspects of his game that may not translate to the Dubs culture. Last but not least, there’s his dad. Honestly, if Lavar Ball were on my team, I WOULD GIVE HIM to the other team, and play 4 on 5. If it’s true that the Ball brothers all have wonky shots from their waist because Lavar trained them solely on a 10 foot hoop their whole lives ? Shameful.

Shaddiq Bey- Something about Bey I really like. Probably that he reminds me slightly of S-Jax.

Payton Pritchard- I hope to do a more in depth analysis of Pritchard later, but the pride of West Linn has this Fred Van Vleet vibe…

Good Luck Tonight Dubs Fans!

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Link to article with more draft profiles / Intro to The Station :




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