There might be a tendency to look at the Golden State Warriors–who have the No. 28 selection in the 2019 NBA Draft–and feel like their first-round draft selection is irrelevant. After all, the team is likely to still have (at the very least) their trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, how much more do they really need?
Two problems with this line of thinking. The first is that the Toronto Raptors have seemed to expose Golden State’s lack of depth in this year’s NBA Finals, and the second being that Green himself was not even selected until the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft. In fact, this current Warriors dynasty was built almost entirely through the draft, making every selection that much more vital for Joe Lacob and co.
Having established just how crucial development via the draft is for a franchise like the Warriors, who might they be targeting at the end of the first round?
The 2019 NBA Draft is likely to have numerous players rise and fall throughout the course of the first round, and it would not be shocking to see the Warriors capitalize on a potential sleeper.
One such player might be former Belmont standout Dylan Windler, who would fit in perfectly with Steve Kerr’s perimeter-oriented offense while supplying some much-needed size in the frontcourt.
3. Lethal shooter
Of course, we know all about Golden State’s proficiency shooting from beyond the arc. Curry and Thompson are already regarded as the best shooting backcourt in NBA history, and Durant’s ability to shoot with practically limitless range has made that offense a juggernaut.
But with Durant’s future up in the air and the Warriors lacking consistent perimeter threats off the bench, why not take a chance on Windler?
The 6’8″ forward averaged 21.3 points in his senior season while shooting nearly 43 percent from beyond the arc on over seven attempts per game. In Belmont’s NCAA Tournament loss to the Maryland Terrapins, Windler shot 7 of 14 from deep and scored a game-high 35 points.
Windler had five games with seven or more made triples, and knocked down at least five treys in eight of his 33 appearances. He clearly has the propensity to step out and make jump shots at an efficient pace, and would like be an ideal option for playmakers such as Curry and Green.
Similarly, his size makes him viable option at the small forward position, giving the Warriors additional floor spacing on the perimeter and sparing Andre Iguodala of some minutes especially during the regular season.
After all, Iguodala will be 36 years old in January, and Alfonzo McKinnie is more of a defensive piece on the wing.
2. Another rebounder
Aside from being a legitimate perimeter threat with the potential to become a better all-around scorer, Windler is another body that can get inside and help on the boards. He averaged 10.8 rebounds per game last season, and could be a crucial frontcourt piece should the Dubs lose DeMarcus Cousins and Andrew Bogut in the offseason.
Windler already has the height to be a difference-maker, but his 6’11” wingspan makes him that much more of an intriguing option on the block. What he lacks in athleticism and build he makes up for in spades with his length and versatility.
Kerr has been a master at incorporating multiple lineups and making sure guys like Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell get their minutes. In the same token, however, Looney and Bell are perfect examples of why the Warriors could use a guy like Windler.
They are both more one-dimensional as traditional bigs who rebound and defend, whereas Windler can rebound and add some scoring to the rotation.
1. Does GSW have a glaring need?
The last component is that the Warriors really do not have a glaring need to add to the roster aside from more depth off the bench. Even if Durant decides to leave, they will have most of the same core that won 73 games during the 2015-16 regular season.
If you do not necessarily have to fill a void when you are drafting, why not make a selection that will only enhance the current roster’s strengths? Windler can fill it up from beyond the arc, and his rebounding ability would cut some of Golden State’s potential losses.
There is no telling who might still be available when the Warriors are on the clock at No. 28, but they could certainly do worse than to select Windler.
Like Green, Windler was an incredibly successful player at the collegiate level, and he seems suited to Golden State’s identity and style of play.
He might just be the perfect first-round draft choice to build on a Warriors team that has made five straight NBA Finals appearances.