NBA Draft 2020: Warriors would likely take Anthony Edwards if they landed and retain No. 1 choice, compared


In what has so far been a NBA season disaster for just about everyone involved, the Golden State Warriors have quietly emerged from the scent of roses. Not one of the 22 teams that went to Orlando, the 2019-2020 Golden State season is officially over, and after five consecutive streaks of playoff finals that needed to play deep in June of each year, extra rest is a boon.

Stephen Curry, who broke his hand in October, has only played five games this season. Klay Thompson, recovering from ACL surgery, did not play any. Draymond Green has rolled according to his criteria through 43 games. For the Warriors, all of this was the league’s worst record, 15-50, for which they will be rewarded with a 14% chance of picking first place overall in the next NBA 2020 draft.

These are the best possible chances under the more recently established fairer lottery system which does not distinguish between the last three teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers (19-46) and the Atlanta Hawks (20-47) also have a 14% shot and clinched the top pick.

The difference is that the Hawks and Cavs are not championship contenders. The Warriors are, and it is surely a rare event when a championship candidate also has a shot at No. 1 overall choice. It reminds us of when David Robinson was injured in 1996-1997, which resulted in a a year-long crash for the San Antonio Spurs as they won first place in the 1997 overall draft, which they used to select Tim Duncan. They won the championship next season.

The Warriors are not guaranteed below pick # 5 in the 2020 draft, but if they manage to get top spot, Connor Letourneau of San Francisco Chronicle reports that they “would likely take care of Georgia Anthony Edwards” if they did not decide to negotiate.

It’s, of course, a big if, and that’s not the only variable in this difficult, but enviable, warrior equation. First, the 2020 class, including Edwards, is not considered particularly deep or talented at the top. Whether it’s Edwards, LaMelo Ball or James Wiseman, no one in this class is considered safe. A scout who spoke with CBS Sports, in fact, said that one of these guys could end up being really good or really bad, and none would surprise him.

If the Warriors – who, again, unlike most teams with such a choice, are looking to compete for a title immediately – don’t see Edwards, or anyone else, as a game change for them all immediately they could seek to negotiate and win additional choices, perhaps to use in a larger deal as part of a package with the 2021 Minnesota first round choice that Golden State commercially obtained D’Angelo Russell and is considered more valuable considering the upgrading of talent in the class next year.

The New York Knicks at number 6 would be intriguing. You might see the Knicks getting impatient and wanting a big name pick to start spreading some excitement around their franchise. Ball would certainly be suitable for this bill. If the odds were to continue, the Knicks would have a # 6 choice. That would always make the Warriors a good player and, again, something more. Additional draft picks are always invaluable to a team that has not been able to restock their young talent for years.

Edwards does project as a large-scale offensive talent, and it would apparently thrive in the space provided by the warriors. He can put the ball on the ground, he can shoot it from anywhere and he is a great athlete at 6 feet 5 inches. We know the Warriors love to play small with Draymond five and shoot all over the court, and Edwards would fit that philosophy perfectly. The scout who spoke to CBS Sports about this class said he considered Edwards to be the most talented player in the draft.

Keep in mind that any information that flows prior to the NBA draft should be viewed with some skepticism. Teams are spreading rumors as a common practice as they try to position maximum leverage for potential deals. If another team really wants Edwards, and the Warriors sell the idea that he is their guy and they are going to take him, the potential commercial package they could potentially be offered increases.

So it’s far from done. We don’t even know what choice the warriors will end up getting. And again, whatever choice they get, a team that is trying to win now is in a different position from a team playing entirely for the future, and is generally much more willing to strike a deal for a ready-made contributor, perhaps at the expense of a future star who might not flower before the closing of the Golden State title window.

Indeed, options abound for the Warriors, who find themselves in a great position no matter what they decide to do.


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