SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/AP) — After taking the sportsworld’s version of a gap year, the Golden State Warriors find themselves holding the No. 2 pick in Wednesday’s NBA Draft with several options to consider.
In a rarity after five straight NBA Finals appearances, GM Bob Myers finds himself in an unfamiliar position with a high lottery pick after the dismal COVID and injured marred 2019-2020 season.
COVID’s impact has added another layer of uncertainty to this year’s draft.
“I think we’ve all kind of had to do our best, whether that’s agents, players, colleges, pros, so we’re thrust into that, too, and it makes for a lot of unknowns,” Myers said in a predraft day zoom interview. “It makes for a lot of variables that we’re not accustomed to dealing with.
“Usually we’d bring in players, especially when you’re picking two, we’d bring in players to our facility. We’d put them through our workout, put them through our medical issues and what we’d like to see of them, our own performance testing. We take them to dinner, we do all kinds of stuff. I mean, we — especially when you’re committing whatever, $20, $30, $40 million to a player, you want to get it right.”
“Look, this isn’t a knock on the league; the league did the best they could. So we’ve been out seeing players. We’re allowed 10 visits. 10 visits total with college kids. We’ll probably expend all those.”
There is pressure on Myers shoulders to find just the right player to join Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, star forward Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. Someone who will make an instant impact and immediately help the Warriors return to contention and respectability following a last-place finish.
With all the social media speculation, the Warriors’ general manager is aware of the intrigue. Might they possibly trade away their pick for flexibility to build another super team, or will they choose to use it?
‘I read all that stuff, too. I was like, ‘I feel the weight,'” Myers joked. “I feel like every year, everything you do is make-or-break, trade, draft, I don’t know. But you can’t really think like that. You’ve got to operate not out of fear. So, hopefully we get it right, and if you don’t, you deal with that. That’s the life I chose. … Maybe I should feel more pressure. Pressure is an interesting thing. If I screw it up, I probably blame myself more than Twitter can do it or you, I suppose, or anyone.”
The Warriors finished 15-50 for the NBA’s worst record, with Thompson out recovering from ACL surgery on his left knee and Curry nursing a broken left hand and missing more than four months. Two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant departed in free agency to join the Brooklyn Nets.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had more time or more runway to figure that part out,” Myers said of placing names on the board.
“But now we know what pick we have, so whether that means more virtual contact with certain players, whether that means more meetings probably internally, more film, we’ll be able to focus more, the gap between the fifth pick and the first or second pick, it certainly narrows your scope. If we had the fifth pick, I think you’re looking at a much broader range of guys.”
With so many fewer games to watch players because of COVID-19, Myers credits everyone from agents to scouts and executives and players and their colleges for doing their best, because “it makes for a lot of unknowns. It makes for a lot of variables that we’re not accustomed to dealing with.”