Golden State Warriors

NBA Mock Draft by The Athletic has Warriors selecting 23-year-old wing from Oregon at No. 14

For the first time in the franchise’s history, the Golden State Warriors have two lottery picks in the upcoming NBA Draft. That means twice the Mock Draft content in the Bay Area this year.

Wasting little time after the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, The Athletic produced projected selections for picks one through 14, including the seventh and 14th picks owned by Golden State. At No. 7, The Athletic selected Michigan forward Franz Wagner, and at No. 14, beat writer Anthony Slater selected Oregon guard Chris Duarte.

Slater leaned on some analysis by his colleague, John Hollinger, to make this pick. Slater says selecting the 6-foot-6 Duarte, who will be 24 years old by opening night, would be akin to acquiring a veteran player, and Hollinger agrees.

“Think of this as a free agent move,” Hollinger wrote. “By nabbing Duarte outside the lottery, a team is basically getting four years of a $10 million player on a $3 million contract. The tradeoff is that they give up on the improbable but still theoretically possible opportunity to pick a teenager and wind up with a $30 million player a few years down the road.”

John Hollinger/The Athletic

As with the mock Wagner selection, the Duarte pick is based on the Warriors’ need for rotation players to contribute right away. With aging superstars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson set to chase a championship again and the team salary cap stretched far beyond the max, the need is clear.

This year’s NBA Draft looks to be top heavy, but there is also quality depth, according to Warriors general manager Bob Myers. What the Warriors decide to do, as in keep or trade its lottery picks, may depend on what other teams are after. If a veteran player becomes available and the price is rigth, Myers will likely pounce.

But the possibility of adding two young players to what Myers hopes is a championship squad remains real. If Golden State welcomes two rookies to the squad, they may indeed draft mature players, as The Athletic projects. We’ll know soon enough what Myers does, with the NBA Draft set for July 29.

(Photo courtesy Marc-Gregor Campredon)

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