Explain One Play Mailbag #7. Your Warriors Tank Commander looks ahead to the draft

You see historic loss; I see a clutch tank against a team ahead of us in the tankathon

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Question: What’s up with the 2021 Draft hype?

(Mar 31) Andre SC asks: Is there actually a mailbag to send questions to? I was wondering why the top-5 of the draft are considered to be a generational type top 5?

Let me answer by answering my own 5 semi-related questions.

1. Where is the mailbag?

First, there is no physical mailbag, nor is there an email mailbag. To ask questions, just say my name in the comments and if I don’t notice it, uh… type my name louder! Or tweet me at @EricApricot.

2. Why are we dusting off the tank commander uniform?

This year, it’s clear GSW at full health can’t beat any elite team that is trying its best. With everything clicking, GSW plays as well as a longshot contender. Without Stephen Curry, the team plays like the worst team in the league. So this is really not a season worth throwing away a good draft pick in a good draft year.

It’s also a season where the team can’t make a lot of money in the playoffs.

Also, Steve Kerr has already come as close as he legally can to saying they are tanking the season. He said they’re not chasing wins. They are playing Wiseman even though he is — for all his potential — a big negative on court today.

Steph’s stupid tailbone injury will hurt and slow him for the rest of the season. Throw in that they tried to trade Kelly Oubre and told him that he’ll be coming off the bench if he stays next year, and I’m guessing that will seriously block Oubre’s chakras and cause him to start playing for his next contract. GSW will be hard pressed to pull off a first-round upset and maybe wouldn’t even be favorites in a play-in game.

3. Why the draft hype?

On the draft hype, that’s a really good question. We will definitely get an expert to write about that. When the season wraps up, I am sure to do a new Draft Tournament with the same in-depth scouting as last time.

Here is a rough Top 10 draft with notes on what I read as the conventional wisdom plus me watching very casually during the Tournament.

  • Cade is Ben Simmons with a jumper.

  • Mobley is a graceful 7 footer but strikes me as a Wiseman with a good passing eye.

  • Suggs is a high IQ court general, maybe Haliburton with a better handle.

  • Green is a raw Anthony Edwards with better playmaking. Is not dominating G-League.

  • Kuminga is a raw Danny Granger.

  • Keon Johnson is a very raw Jaylen Brown.

  • Corey Kispert is Klay Jr. maybe.

  • Franz Wagner is maybe a young Gallinari.

  • Moses Moody is young OG Anunoby.

  • Scottie Barnes is Draymond Jr. maybe.

So any of the the top 3 would help GSW right away, but outside of Cade, I’m not sure any of these are Luka level team changers, and Cade is no guarantee. It’s estimated that Anthony Edwards would have gone maybe #5 in this draft.

After that, the draft looks full of raw potential and some solid choices. So, it’s a good draft but not a LeBron / Wade / Carmelo type draft (… OR IS IT?).

I am bound to change my mind when I get a chance to look harder at the draft.

4. How well can GSW tank?

Here are the current standings.

There are 23 games left in GSW’s season. To keep GSW’s own pick, they need to finish 1-20, so they are an unnerving 4 games close to passing Dallas. But let’s get real, all the teams between them and DAL are wanting to win to improve playoff position, so there’s no way GSW will lose their pick.

Looking the other direction, GSW could easily fall 3 games to #10 even if they tried their best to win. The challenge would be to reach the #4 - #6 pod, 5 losses ahead of them. That group has a VERY respectable chance to win the lottery.

For the rest of the season GSW plays: WAS, HOU, OKC, CLE, WAS again, SAC, MIN, HOU again, NOP twice, OKC twice, NOP again. That gives them a lot of chances to control their own tank destiny, simply by resting Steph against any or all of these teams.

5. Isn’t this a bit cynical?

Yes. I personally don’t believe in tanking for the draft. But this will probably help me enjoy the end of this injured, cursed plague season.