With short window after season's end, Warriors turn to draft
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Late last week, Bob Myers could barely even wrap his mind around the idea he needed to start thinking about the NBA draft. The Golden State general manager just tried to cope, somehow, with the shock and sadness of losing two star players to serious injuries in the last two games of the Finals and losing to the Toronto Raptors.
Myers will go into Thursday night's draft with the hope of acquiring an immediate impact player — something that used to be a luxury on his loaded roster but now could be much more of a necessity if the Warriors want to contend for a championship again. Myers must build the roster for next season knowing Klay Thompson is likely to miss much of it and if Kevin Durant re-signs with the Warriors he too will be sidelined for about a year.
That's daunting consider given the Warriors had a starting lineup of five All-Stars at one point as they chased a third straight title only to lose Durant in Game 5 to a ruptured right Achilles tendon that required surgery last Wednesday, then Thompson the very next day in Game 6 to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He is yet to undergo reconstructive surgery, which often doesn't happen for a week or so once swelling in the knee subsides. Myers had no medical updates when he discussed the draft Wednesday.
The Warriors are scheduled to pick at 28 and 58 on Thursday night, late in both the first and second rounds.
"Maybe next year we afford more opportunity for who we pick," Myers said. "Maybe we get a guy that can step in. I think we will have more opportunity next year no matter what happens in free agency, I think we will have more of an opportunity for a young guy."
Part of the challenge for Myers with his team reaching five straight NBA Finals is the quick turnaround between a season ending, facing the mental and physical exhaustion, then having to regroup immediately to find the energy and focus for draft day.
"What you learn is that it's a very compressed window, whether it's the draft or free agency and so you have to trust the people that are focused on that and have been focused on that," Myers said. "I kind of joke about it, but it is somewhat uncommon to have such a small amount of time, and these are huge decisions we're trying to make and get right here in the short window of time. And there's also a mental, your fatigue level, and just how you kind of ramp it back up. But these decisions we make tomorrow and in the next couple weeks they will affect next year and the following year and the following year. So you really have to be on point."
The 58th pick might provide a two-way player who also spends time with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.
Some 40 to 50 players have been to team headquarters for pre-draft workouts and a few visited more than once, Myers said.
Whether Golden State can get a rotation player for coach Steve Kerr at No. 28, Myers isn't sure. That's the hope, of course, and just take three-time All-Star forward Draymond Green as an example of how brilliantly it can go: The Warriors selected him 35th overall in the second round out of Michigan State in 2012.
"Draymond, that obviously worked," Myers said with a smile.