Who Should the Warriors Want at 52?


Even in the most typical of drafts, it would be difficult to predict who gets taken in the last ten picks — which will only be eight selections this year as the Phoenix Suns had to forfeit their pick due to tampering with then-free agent Drew Eubanks, as did the Philadelphia 76ers for doing the same with Danuel House and P.J. Tucker — as teams are willing to take far greater swings for risky players with second-round picks that are just not considered that valuable, as evidenced by the plethora of second-rounders that were moved in deals at the trade deadline.

But this year in particular, in a draft where the talent seems about as close to flattened as possible at about each tier, trying to gauge who may be available to the Warriors at the 52nd selection is tough. Additionally, both fortunately and unfortunately for the Warriors, who only have their second-round pick this year — the Blazers have their first pick via the Grizzlies from the Andre Iguodala deal in 2019 — the stakes are pretty low once you drop down into the 50s.

That being said, Anthony Mason (#53), Sam Mitchell (#54), Patty Mills (#55), Manu Ginóbili (#57), and Isaiah Thomas (#60) were all highly productive players taken lower than where the Warriors will be selecting on June 27th.

With all that in mind, here are five players that the Warriors should heavily consider were they to fall to them on the second night of the draft:

Antonio Reeves (Guard, Kentucky)

The fifth-year senior from Kentucky is about as good a pure shooter when he gets his feet set as there is in the draft, having finished fourth in the entire nation in three-point percentage at 44.7% while averaging a team-leading 20.2 points on the season.

The shooting is obviously an immediate draw for Golden State, but the combination of age (23) and a so-so athletic profile means that Reeves likely doesn’t have much room to grow as a player.

Tristen Newton (Guard, Connecticut)

Another fifth-year senior, Newton is a do-it-all guard who led the back-to-back national champion Huskies in points per game (15.2) and assists (6.2) and was second in rebounds (6.6) and steals (0.9).

That’s not nothing, considering the caliber of talent Newton played alongside, but the shot selection is rough — 41.5% from the field and 32.1% from distance — and Newton is another player whose age becomes a detriment, particularly as he will definitely need time in the  League to get his shooting to a level of professional viability.

Coleman Hawkins (Forward, Illinois)

This is one where the attitude may prevent the play for the talent.

Hawkins is a rangy big who has a good-looking stroke and, when harnessed, athletic gifts that are NBA-ready. But he lacks maturity and is prone to manic fits of defensive distractedness, which would likely be a problem were he to ever touch the floor alongside Draymond Green.

Still, his game’s potential could be Obi Toppin light, as he runs well, is springy, and can stroke the three.

N’Faly Dante (Center, Oregon)

It would appear all the old-heads are falling to the bottom of the draft, as Dante is another fifth-year senior.

Dante’s game is purely based on his physical prowess, as his 6-foot-10 frame and 7-foot-3 wingspan could position him to be a strong rebounder and defensive presence at the NBA level. The offensive game will probably never be more than putbacks and lobs, but if he can harness his defensive abilities into something more structured and reactive, as opposed to just raw, he could be a poorest man’s Ben Wallace type, just crashing the boards and causing havoc as a rim protector.

Melvin Ajinça (Small Forward, France)

The cousin of former NBA big man Alexis Ajinça, Melvin comes in as a project who has shown a penchant for long-range bombing, as 67% of his total field goals taken came from behind the arc, where he shot just 31% on those attempts.

Yet, he absolutely needs to work on rounding out his game to provide enough variety to make teams not just run him off the line. Unlike the other four players, Ajinça will just be 20 as he enters the league, meaning there is plenty of time to let him develop a more well-rounded game in the league.

About Nic Thomas

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