The NBA Draft is a few days away, which means NBA Draftmas is back. Each day, The Game Haus will review a team’s past season, their team needs and targets. Draftmas continues today with the Golden State Warriors 2018 NBA Draft profile.
The Golden State Warriors entered the 2018 off-season still NBA champions. The 58-24 championship season did not come without its struggles, however. Members of the famous “death lineup” dealt with injuries throughout the season, It seemed rare when Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green were all playing at the same time. None of that appeared to matter at the end of the season.
Golden State began their championship run without Steph Curry; Curry would return in the conference semifinals against New Orleans. Golden State didn’t really face any serious threat until the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors were pushed to seven games against the Houston Rockets. Houston point guard, Chris Paul, was injured at the end of Game 5 and many believe were he healthy, Houston would’ve won the series and advanced to the Finals. The Warriors were without Andre Iguodala for most of that series and half of the Finals. The Houston series was a defining moment for these Warriors as it showed their vulnerability; resorting to isolation basketball with Kevin Durant as the primary ball handler. Golden State would go on to sweep a LeBron-led Cavaliers team in the Finals. Now riding a championship high, the Warriors will look to the draft to retool their bench.
Draft Picks & Needs
The Golden State Warriors have only one pick in the 2018 NBA Draft; a late first round pick.
Round 1: No. 28
Round 2: N/A
General Manager Bob Myers will be looking to replenish the depth of the team with a guard or a wing since the team became heavy at the center position due to injury. Myers will be keeping free agents in mind; Kevin Durant (expected to remain with the team), Patrick McCaw (restricted free agent), Nick Young, Zaza Pachulia, David West, JaVale McGee and Kevon Looney (all unrestricted) hit free agency on July 1. While a couple of those players are likely to re-sign, it would no doubt benefit the Warriors to grab value at no. 28.
Target and Thoughts
Pick No. 28: Jacob Evans, SG/SF, Cincinnati
The Warriors lost Patrick McCaw for the remainder of the season and postseason due to injury and Andre Iguodala suffered an injury during the playoffs as well. Iguodala, now 34, has been a key piece of the Warriors during the latter stage of his career. This injury has been hampering the aging 2015 Finals MVP and it would be wise to invest in possible replacements.
University of Cincinnati’s Jacob Evans would be an ideal pick at No. 28. The Bearcat forward has the size (6’6″ 210), athleticism and defensive mindset that would be able to fit into the Golden State system the smoothest. Evans’ will have to develop a consistent jump shot to fit in perfectly and pay off as an investment; he averaged 13 points on 42% (37% from 3) shooting this past season with UC. Evans’ defense will be his redeeming quality his first year while he develops a better jumper.
The Golden State Warriors aren’t going to have much to pick from at No. 28 in terms of top 10 talent (hence the 28). So grabbing an investment is the only option. Jacob Evans could be the best available to develop into a solid role player if not a starter. And when you’re on a championship team with key players still in their prime, success can breed success.