Did The Warriors Ruin The Dynasty By Blowing The Draft? Part 3: 2016 Damian Jones and Patrick McCaw

Could we have drafted better?

We laid out the constraints and boundaries of this analysis in the series master post, Did The Warriors Ruin The Dynasty By Blowing The Draft? An In-Depth Series. This also has links to all the articles in the series.

Who was a better pick in 2016?

The Warriors picked Damian Jones at #30 and Patrick McCaw at #38. Of the 30 players drafted after Damian Jones, only 5 racked up more Win Shares (not including Pat McCaw).

Here they are, ordered by Win Shares.

  • Malcolm Brogdon, #36. This dead-eye shooter was the real steal of the draft. He won Rookie of the Year and then posted a 50-40-90 season in 2019. A big miss for the #30 pick.

  • Ivica Zubac, #32. This big is a passable finisher on offense and a strong shotblocker and rebounder. Underappreciated in LAL, Jerry West fleeced the Lakers and grabbed him for LAC and he has been a steady starter at center for an excellent team. The Warriors would love to have him right now.

  • Cheick Diallo, #33. A big, plays spot minutes off the bench for NOP and then PHX. Probably not a big upgrade on Damian Jones.

  • Deyonta Davis, #31. He’s had a bit of a cult following in Dub Nation, but after a promising start in MEM, he ended up in the G-League with the Santa Cruz Warriors, played out a couple of 10-day contracts in ATL and then came back to SCW, where he remains. In comparison, Jones and McCaw haven’t exactly locked in big minutes anywhere, but at least they are still in the NBA.

  • Jake Layman, #47. After barely playing for two years, he’s worked his way into a first off the bench type role / spot starter in the last two years. Not a star at offense or defense, but eats minutes well.

  • Patrick McCaw, #38. Our guy. Regarded as a possible second-round steal at the time, he had occasional moments, including some very promising spot minutes in the 2017 Finals, but wanted a bigger role and forced a trade. Has been a light-minutes bench player since then.

  • Damian Jones, #30. Our guy again. Athletic flashes, but very injury prone and inconsistent. Barely played for two years, then got dusted off to serve as JaVale McGee lite, which he did adequately until his injury. He was thrust into coming back early from injury into a way too big role in the 2019 Playoffs. His inconsistency led to his being traded to make the D’Angelo Russell sign-and-trade possible.

How did GSW do against the field?

  • Patrick McCaw had the #24 most Win Shares of his 2015 draft class and #37 highest Value Over Replacement Player. Bleacher Report took him #29 in a 2020 redraft. DraftSite took McCaw at #21.

  • Damian Jones had the #25 most Win Shares of his 2015 draft class and #15 highest Value Over Replacement Player. In the 2020 redraft, Bleacher Report did not take Jones in the first round, nor did DraftSite.

So McCaw was good value at #38, and Damian Jones was probably around expected value for the #30, maybe a bit below.

2016 Pick Grades: Patrick McCaw, C+. Damian Jones, D.

The McCaw pick was a good one, from the maneuvers to get the second round pick, to picking probably the best player available at #38. However, the grade gets penalized because the team didn’t develop him into a role he could embrace.

The Damian Jones pick is less defensible at #30. The Warriors got very limited value out of him, they missed on two players they would love to have today (Brogdon, Zubac), and even Diallo or Layman could be giving solid minutes-eating off the bench. But this was an intentional gamble, as GSW pursued a strategy of drafting for players with high upside with their value damaged by injury concerns (see Looney, Kevon).

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