Dub Nation HQ Draft Tourney Rd 2: #3 James Bouknight vs #6 Josh Giddey

Dynamic driver vs dynamic passer

The whole tournament is at 2021 Dub Nation HQ Draft Tournament.

Your mission is to decide which of these two you would prefer the Warriors draft at #7 this year. I’ll bring the scouting reports, you bring the vote.

And if you don’t want either one at #7? Yeah yeah I get it. You can still help us choose between them or just let the rest of us pick.

How The Candidates Got Here

Dub Nation Speaks

  • JMullins23 (2 ♡):

    Love Bouknight. Setting aside fit, he’s clearly the #7 guy in the draft in my view. Problem is, as noted below, he looks a lot like a better version of Poole. And, unlike Moody & Duarte, he’s clearly a 2 not a 2-3.

  • The Sword Of The Morning (2 ♡):

    And Poole's a really good playmaker while Bouknight is projected to be someone like Clarkson.

    People really underrate Poole (and overrate Wiseman or someone like Bouknight) due to their draft (projected in the case of Bouknight) position.

    Like there's all this excitement about Wiseman being the next KG or AD when he hasn't really provided the on-court impacts of a young KG/AD but people seem to be saying that Poole is a Lou Williams or Jamal Crawford level future 6th man when he's gonna (in all likelihood) be better than that as he's a better playmaker and defender at age 21 and has already provided 6MOY level value for half a season. And he did this without a lot of offensive support in non-Steph units.

  • Ivan (2 ♡):

    "Player X has skyrocketed up draft boards in the weeks before the draft" – I should probably research this instead of speculating, but my gut says this is more likely to be a bad signal than a good one. More likely to be agent and/or GM machinations than a collectively missed scouting job.

    Here's another thing that my lazy ass should research instead of running my mouth about, but: despite the instinctual allure of "tall guy that can pass," (a) how often does that translate to the NBA; (b) is it really that useful of a trait if the tall guy can't play big; and (c) are 6'8" guys with 6'7" wingspans functionally "tall"? For a guard, sure. Kinda average as a wing, without the defensive profile that you'd want. Suddenly, his height doesn't feel like it's contributing positional flexibility.

    Anyway – seems like a decent risk at 14. I'm hoping for a bit more upside or nominal assurance at 7 though.

  • Doc (1 ♡):

    This is a tough one for me. I love Giddey’s passing and think it fits with the Warriors. He needs to care more on defense to improve, but he seemed disinterested and unaware of his deficiencies in his interview with Mike Schmidts…. I can see Giddy winning a few regular season games and being played off the court in the playoffs.

James Bouknight

Mock Draft Selections For GSW: Vecenie, TheAthletic, Kalbrosky, USA Today. NBADraft.net (6/22), Kawakami, The Athletic

Profile from Sports-Reference.com

Wizzy’s Comps

  • Per 40: Jarrett Culver, Kenny Anderson, Richard Hamilton, Dwayne Bacon, Gerald Henderson, Anthony Edwards, Bracey Wright, Jason Sasser, Joseph Forte,

  • Advanced: Dwayne Bacon, Jarrett Culver, Tony Carr, Carsen Edwards, Kemba Walker, Cole Anthony, Kevin Murphy, Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Edwards,

Jon Chepkevich: Statistical best comparisons are

  1. Malik Beasley

  2. Romeo Langford

  3. Gerald Henderson

  4. Marshon Brooks

  5. Alec Burks

Bucket-getters galore. Some good, some bad, some ugly…

NBA Draft Room Comp: Derek Anderson, Jamal Murray

Kyle Boone, CBS Sports: An in-season elbow injury and subsequent surgery derailed Bouknight's breakout sophomore season, as he returned for UConn but wasn't quite the same player. Still, he's an electric scorer with fantastic leaping ability who can create looks for himself by getting to the tin, pulling up off the bounce, moving smartly off the ball and generally being a bucket-getter. 

The lack of shot-making and shot-creation on Golden State's roster was glaring by season's end, with Stephen Curry ultimately shouldering a massive workload on both fronts. And while Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins have their roles for the future, and Klay Thompson's return should help, Bouknight can give this team a nice scoring addition. He's a savvy creator with good size and length who can make plays anywhere on the court and profiles as a nice offensive weapon in any system.

Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: Bouknight is an athlete more in the vein of Zach LaVine, a smooth, floating explosiveness mixed with an authoritative finishing skill. He’s not quite as elite an athlete as young LaVine, but he’s going to throw down some monster dunks that raise eyebrows as a rookie. In general, the best skill Bouknight brings to the table is his shot creation. He averaged nearly 19 points per game this past season. He has a strong first step and has real finishing craft around the basket. He hit 62.7 percent of his shots at the rim in half-court settings, in part because he was able to also get a lot of shots at the basket off cuts due to his intelligent off-ball movement. He needs to get better on defense and as a passer, but there is a real gift for getting buckets.

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: SHADES OF Donovan Mitchell, CJ McCollum, Jordan Clarkson

Spark-plug scorer whose silky ballhandling and competitive edge are tailor-made for the pros.

  • Ballhandling

  • Interior Scoring

  • Athleticism


  • Explosive athlete with a quick first step to pressure the paint and the hops to play above the rim.

  • Finishes acrobatically inside by leaping off either foot and using either hand for touch layups or loud dunks. Also draws a lot of fouls with deceptive moves and body control.

  • Slippery ball handler who loves using hesitations to generate space for his jumpers. Can hit tough, contested shots off the dribble.

  • Instinctual player who relocates and cuts.

  • Speedy defender who could become an effective stopper against opposing guards and some wings. Made strides as a sophomore, especially focusing off-ball and making an impact in the passing lanes.


  • Playmaking instincts: He forces some passes that aren’t there and misses some open opportunities. And he too often kills his dribble.

  • Streaky spot-up shooter whose issues could be due to his mechanics. Has a relatively stiff shot out of stationary positions.

  • Inconsistent on-ball defender.

  • Suffered a torn meniscus as a junior in high school.

IndyCornRows (very extensive dive): James Bouknight is exactly the type of player I would be willing to draft with the Pacers first round pick. He has the potential and ability to hit a very high outcome that results in him becoming an elite off-ball scorer with on-ball equity that doesn’t get you killed on defense at the wing: the Pacers need to take as many shots as possible at wings with the chance to create. You’re not drafting any surefire primary creators in the late lottery, but there are some “maybe if” guys, and Bouknight is one of them. The flashes are so bright with him and if the Pacers can find a way to bring along their first lottery pick in half a decade, he could be an extraordinary player if drafted by Indiana

I also don’t want to make it sound as though he’s a bonafide star, If the handle really doesn’t improve (I’m confident it will due to what I discussed earlier in relation to core strength and stability) then he projects more as an off-ball wing who struggles to create his own shot and is mostly a play finisher in an NBA offense. 

Hollinger, The Athletic: Pronounced “Bucket.” OK, it’s not, but it should be. He’s a bit undersized for a shooting guard and a bit greedy for a point, but Bouknight’s ability to get this own shot stands out in this class.

Bouknight averaged an eye-popping 39.3 points per 100 possessions in nine Big East games as a sophomore at UConn this season, despite a midseason injury that seemed to affect his shooting once he came back. He can take it to the cup and finish with long strides and length (54.5 percent on 2s in the Big East with a high free throw rate), plus he gets off the floor on his jumper and is comfortable shooting pull-ups off the dribble.

That doesn’t make him wart-free. You’d like to see more consistency in his perimeter stroke (29.3 percent from 3 this year, 32 percent career, although he’s an 80 percent foul shooter); opponents may just go under screens on him and dare him to bomb way. Bouknight also needs to increase his feel as a passer if he wants to play a prominent on-ball role. His rate of 3.2 assists per 100 was unacceptable for a high-volume guard.

Bouknight needs to show a bit more verve defensively. He shows good lateral quickness, has decent length and competes when he’s guarding on the ball, but he also chills out off the ball and doesn’t anticipate plays. He also needs to build up his skinny frame, as opposing 2s will likely try to take him on the block. One encouraging sign: He does rebound, with 10.2 boards per 100 in Big East play.

The value proposition here is that high-level shot creation still matters. Bouknight has a lot of Jordan Clarkson in him, both for good and bad, but it’s not hard to imagine him becoming an annual Sixth Man winner.

Joshua Giddey

Mock Drafts for GSW: Chad Ford Podcast

Wizzy’s Comps. None.

NBA Draft Room Comp: Taller Brent Barry

Jeremy Woo, SI. At some point, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Giddey is averaging 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and earning a ton of playing time in the NBL at 18 years old. He’s made a quick adjustment against professional competition and has been indispensable, starting to scrape at triple doubles as a legitimate, tall point guard. Giddey has his warts: He’s not a good defender, his jumper is a bit stiff and a work in progress, and he’ll have a tougher time athletically in the NBA until his body fills out. His numbers hold up fairly well with what LaMelo Ball did in Australia last year, and while they’re far from the same caliber of prospect, Giddey deserves a lot of credit. The lottery is feasible.

Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: Few players have as much momentum up the board right now as Giddey. He posted back-to-back triple-doubles in the Australian NBL last week, showcasing his extremely high-level feel for the game. He’s one of the smartest players in the draft, especially for a teenager. He has an innate understanding of where and how to get his teammates the ball in advantageous positions. That’s his key skill. At 6-8 without elite athleticism, Giddey is more a secondary playmaker in the vein of a Joe Ingles as opposed to a primary point guard. But he should be able to make plays out of ball screens. The keys here will be shooting and an emphasis on defensive fundamentals. He needs to stay lower in his defensive stance. The jumper should improve in time, as nothing is broken mechanically.

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: SHADES OF Joe Ingles, Kyle Anderson, Evan Turner

Tall playmaker with the ability to make any pass on the court, though he must answer questions about his shooting and defense.

  • Playmaking

  • Feel for the Game


  • Manipulates defense using a wide variety of change-of-pace moves. He understands how to take certain angles to open passing windows better than many NBA veterans.

  • Ambidextrous passer who fluidly distributes the ball off the bounce. Whether it’s a basic pocket pass or a high-level dish to a shooter or cutter, he delivers with accuracy.

  • Skilled finisher who can contort his body at the rim and score from awkward angles. He also displays soft touch on floaters.

  • Instinctual rebounder who gobbles up boards out of his area, and is a threat to take the ball coast to coast.

  • Solid off-ball defender who displays a desire to make plays in the passing lanes, though he must improve his fundamentals and court awareness.


  • Subpar spot-up shooter who needs to revise his mechanics. It looks like he brings the ball up to his release point too early, which means power isn’t transferring from his legs up to his hands. His footwork is also inconsistent.

  • Can’t make defenders pay for going under screens in the pick-and-roll because of his shaky dribble jumper.

  • Struggles defending man-to-man against quicker players and against bigger ones due to his lean frame.

Kyle Boone, CBS Sports: We added shot-making for the Warriors earlier in the draft with Bouknight, now we'll add shot-creation here with Josh Giddey, one of the most creative passers in the draft. Giddey is a big-bodied guard who has created as the No. 1 option and profiles as a big wing who can generate offense with his crisp passing and elite vision. Whether that's enough to make him a starter on this Warriors roster is unclear, but what he can bring as an offensive player is enough to make a difference on a team that likely has realistic goals of contending in 2021-22.

Hollinger, The Athletic: Similar to Kuminga, Giddey is 6-foot-8 with perimeter skills. Unlike Kuminga, he only exists in two dimensions. Yes, Giddey needs to pack on a bit of muscle, but his play in a physical professional league in Australia shows that he can be an impact player without looking like Hercules.

Again, big wings who can dribble and pass are the gold every scout seeks, which gives Giddey a solid boost up the list here. His upside scenarios are reminiscent of Toni Kukoc or Joe Ingles with a right hand. The reason he doesn’t go any higher, however, has to do with some of the limitations that could prove fail points in this development.

For starters, there is his shot. Giddey shot 29.3 percent from 3 and 69.1 percent from the line this season, and while he relied some on self-created 3s, the eye test backs up the numbers in this case. He shoots an awkward, elbow-out jumper flicked off his forehead, and he’s going to need that shot to open up the rest of his game. Giddey doesn’t have the burst to get to the cup on his own steam consistently and, for that reason, was an underwhelming scorer Down Under (10.8 points per game, exactly 50 percent on 2s).

His ability to guard on the perimeter is also a question, especially given his thin frame and limited vertical. Giddey wasn’t afraid to stick his nose in and rebound, however, with a 12.8 percent rebound rate in a pretty brutish league.

The reason to draft Giddey is for his passing. His ability to make deliveries with either hand at his age is pretty special; he just has to be good enough at the other stuff to where it’s worth putting him on the ball. Unlike the other prospects who have played in Australia, Giddey legitimately impacted winning as a teenager. He’ll also be nearly the youngest player in the draft, with an October 2002 birthdate.

The size, passing and youth make for a strong case. Relative the players above him, however, Giddey has two minuses — athleticism and shooting — and at least one of them needs to turn in his favor.

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