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Kevin O'Connor responds to the DNHQ Draft Tourney, and more great draft talk on Sam and Andy's podcast
Unexpectedly direct response to your votes
Sam Esfandiari and Andy Liu had Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer on their Light Years podcast last night. You may know KOC from the DNHQ Draft Tourney where I liberally quoted from his scouting reports for the various players.
I was pleased that their discussion was compatible with my recent comment:
My gut tells me (i.e. I have zero proof of this) that GSW strongly prefers a more mature prospect (like Trayce Jackson-Davis, Jaime Jaquez, or sort of Podziemski) that are seen as a reach at #19, so they are trying to see if they can trade down a few spots and pick up some assets. But it’s a dangerous game as all these guys seem to be quietly rising into the range where it would be no surprise to see them go #16-#30. I wouldn’t be surprised if GSW can’t move the pick and end up “reaching”.
Unexpectedly they asked KOC to comment directly on our collective vote in the Draft Tourney. To remind you, the winner of both our 2023 Draft Tourney and void’s DNHQ Bin Board was… Dereck Lively II.
So… how hard did KOC slam our vote?
Check out the podcast to get all the body language and discussions of Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, Mike Dunleavy Jr, and yes lots of Draft talk.
Here are a few key quotes from the podcast below. If you enjoy the podcast, you should throw a subscription to their Patreon or at least their YouTube channel.
(This discussion starts at 25:11 on the video above.)
KOC on our vote for Dereck Lively (and how he’s different from James Wiseman)
Sam: So our friends over at Dub Nation HQ threw up a poll for who people would want at 19. Assumption, they're not trading up, they're not trading down. They're actually picking at 19. And the number one most voted player was Dereck Lively.
Andy: Oh my God.
KOC: Wow, Lively.
Sam: Um huh. And from a fan perspective, I get it, this fan base has a fetish for seven footers because they've never had one. I literally feel like they spoke Wiseman into existence for the draft pick, but it's like, you watch the Warriors. Steph, Klay shooting, never having big men who can do anything. So it's always like the allure that you're gonna do it. So I get that. But with that said, it's been reported that the Warriors have interest in Lively as they do with every player in that range. Do you like him?
KOC: For the Warriors? Yeah, I do!
I mean, I think he makes a lot more sense, you know, talent-wise than James Wiseman did, because with Wiseman it was more like a bet. Can we bring in this raw player with no feel at all and no intelligence on the court, and bring him into the Warrior system and fix all that?
Well, no, it didn't work. Lively, at least has some feel. Like he had some passing ability out of short rolls that I would be very intrigued with. I think he could run him in dribble handoff actions, and he could at least make the proper decision. So I feel better about him as like a 7 foot bet for the Warriors than I ever did with James Wiseman. Wiseman was just all theoretical.
KOC: Whether it's at 19 or in a trade down, I think they would have to take him at 19: Noah Clowney out of Alabama. Super steady as a defender. He is versatile. He can switch, he can protect the rim. He is a tough rebounder. Threes, he shot like a 40% stretch in the middle of the season for Alabama this year. And then he had like some streaks where he shot like 15%. So it even out at like 28% from three this year. But Clowney can roll hard. He can make the right decision on the floor. I just think he would really fit what the Warriors do offensively with their versatile scheme in the half court, more so than Lively, where lively might be higher upside.
Clowney has upside in his own right and he could help right now as a young player next to Looney or next to Draymond, or is the lone big on the floor.
Andy: If the Warriors draft a big man, I'll lose it. I'm gonna lose it.
KOC: You don't want a big at all?
Sam: Steve Kerr's not playing a one and done big.
Andy: [The Warriors type of player is a] 6-7 wing. 6-10 wingspan, maybe a 7 feet wing span. Not like super athletic, but super smart on defense, right? Like he'll take a bunch of charges, he'll be in the right passing lanes on offense. He can dribble the ball a little bit. Definitely makes the right pass. Can't really shoot, maybe like a 31% three point shooter, right? But maybe you can kind of teach him, maybe you'll get him to 34%.
Sam: Just say you want Jaime Jaquez already!
Andy: That's a Warriors type of player, feels like someone that if they're gonna course-correct and not draft any more projects and guys that are ready to play actual winning basketball. …
KOC: I think with Jaquez, he'd be the guy more so if you trade down. I mean, you could take him at 19 and just say, Hey, here's our guy, deal with it! Even though he maybe could have gotten him in a trade down with Charlotte at 27 or with Indiana at 29.
But I like Jaquez a lot. He's definitely a Warriors guy at 19.
I think about Colby Jones out of Xavier. He's a junior, an upperclassman. I think Steve Kerr maybe would at least consider playing him as a rookie despite his issues with playing young players. So I like with him, it's a lot of the qualities you talked about where he has that handling ability. He has intelligence. He can make the right play on the floor. He's a solid shooter from three on a lower volume. You know, tough, hard-nosed defender, like constantly hustles. That dude is like always getting hit in the face a bunch of times this season for Xavier, just cuz he's always in the action, always putting himself out there, willing to dive for loose balls, all that type of scrappy stuff that I think Kerr would appreciate in in a young player.
And he just makes sense for their roster with the way he plays and the way they play. But I like even then, I don't know, like my preference for the Warriors isn't to stay at 19. I'd love to see them trade down. I think the value in this draft at 19 is not that much different in the late twenties, like the Colby Jones types, the Jaime Jaquez types, guys like that could be available.
Sam: In your most recent mock, you have them taking our guy from Santa Clara.
KOC: I just realized when I did the mock draft, but in my comparisons I have Donte DiVincenzo and D’Angelo Russell blended, two former Warriors, I mean
Sam: I do feel very confident that guy's gonna be in the NBA for like a decade, which for the 19th, 20th pick… that's [hitting] a double.
Andy: The cross-racial blend is killing me there. So you've got the herky jerky kinda lefty, and then you've got the solid really good role player.
KOC: Sam's right, he's gonna be in the league a long time. I'm not sure where he's gonna land, but, but my feel from the people I've talked to around the league is he goes top 20 ish, top 22, 23, something like that. I'd be surprised if he would've fallen any further than that.
So he's the type of guy where he's only 20 years old and maybe Steve Kerr wouldn't play him a lot as a rookie, but I think he's the type of guy who would play pretty soon just because of his high IQ, good decision maker. It's really a matter of can he survive defensively?
And maybe he's the type of guy you wouldn't want to invest in.
Um, so I don't know. I, I just, I just can't. Like the guys that make sense for the Warriors are trade down guys. They're not guys at 19.
Trading Kuminga to move up
Andy: What if they trade up?
KOC: Yeah. That's the other side of it. Yeah. Kuminga plus 19.
Andy: What does that get you theoretically?
KOC: Theoretically, ahead of them, who would want Kuminga?
Utah, 16 maybe.
Sam: I really hope you're not trading Kuminga to move up two spots.
KOC: No. See, I don't think so either.
How about 13? Toronto. But Toronto's rumors about them trying to get into the top three. So I don't know about them either.
OKC at 12? I don't think so. They'll probably take Coulibaly at 12 or they'll move up.
Orlando at 11. Maybe that could make sense for them. Because they could still get a shooter at 19. That's the one that makes the most sense.
Sam: Is there anyone in that 8 to 12 range, probably more 12 that you think the Warriors would really value that could actually contribute to them in the short term? Because it has been rumored and, Givony is not unsourced. So when he says they're looking to move up, like there has to be someone who's catching their eye.
KOC: So I think a couple guys. Anthony Black out of Arkansas. He's a classic Steve Kerr type of guy. You could plug him into Shaun Livingston or Andre Iguodala style role. Versatile, tough defender, good connector on offense. He doesn't need to be a primary for the Warriors, like he'd be super sweet for that team.
Kobe Bufkin outta Michigan, he's like kind of the alter ego, the good brother of Jordan Poole, another former Michigan player. [That is hilarious. - EA]
Bufkin’s the try hard on defense. The hustler, the ball mover, the good passer and the scorer. It's just, he's only six foot four, so he is on the smaller side, but he has like a long 6-8, 6-9 wingspan. Bufkin I like a lot. I'm gonna have Bufkin in my top 10 big board when I update sometime this week. I just keep getting higher and higher and higher on him the more I rewatch his stuff.
For wing types. How about Taylor Hendricks? Have you guys watched him at all? I know he is a little bit out of range, but Taylor Hendricks, he's a freshman forward outta UCF 6-8, 7-1 wingspan. Versatile. Tight defender for the Warriors, you know, hits threes up near 40%. He played center in high school, solid finisher around the basket. He is a good cutter, good mover without the ball. Versatile defender, he'd be another guy that I'd target if the Warriors were to theoretically move up to 11.
Cause I think he could play with Draymond, with Looney, whether he's playing the three or as a four in those lineups. So I think the flexibility that he could provide next to them would be significant. I'd lean towards him over a Black or a Bufkin type of player if they were to move up to 11-ish.
Drafting older players
Even though they're rookies and even though the Warriors could theoretically be going a path where they're not investing in young players. I also think that like investing in upperclassmen is a little different, and that just means having quality talent on rookie deals.
It's like if at #19 I don't look at the value of those players, for [the Warriors]… I don't think it's all that different at #29, #30 in terms of the types of players you could target for some teams. Yeah. Like you, you might not be able to get a Leonard Miller in the late twenties, you're not gonna be able to get Leonard Miller who is young. He is still gonna be, I think, 19, 20 years old coming in as a rookie. He's a higher upside guy, like you can't get him in the late twenties. But in terms of those more sure things, the, the older guys who can contribute on rookie deals, that's no different at at 18, 19, 20 than it is later in the draft.
Trading down, the most likely scenario
Sam: Do you think the Warriors stay put at #19, trade up, or trade out?
KOC: I think Trade Down. Like Indiana, they have 26, 29, and 32. Charlotte has 27, 34, and 39 and 41. There's no way the Hornets make four picks in that range or the Pacers make three picks in that range when they already have a lottery pick. I just think somebody's gonna move down for those picks so those teams can consolidate.
And it's a team that has open roster spots and a ton of payroll committed to other guys. And they need to have young players on rookie deals that can contribute early, and they could take some shots in that range too. To me, the Warriors just check those boxes across the board for a team that makes sense to trade down.
Andy: What are they getting in a trade down? Like a future protected or what, what is that? I mean, it can't be that much.
KOC: If it's Indiana, or let's say it's Charlotte, you know, they have the second pick. Let's say they keep that and they go with Scoot or, you know, Brendan Miller at that pick.
Then they could give up maybe two or three of those four picks in that range, like 27 and 39 and 41. So something like that.
Sam: Two rookies. Let's go!!
KOC: Yeah, maybe three. Maybe three. I just don't see how some of those teams are gonna make five picks. Five picks. They already have deep rosters full of veterans on good contracts and young players. There's just not enough roster spots. … Those teams have no choice but to make those moves.
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