Warriors Draft Preview: 3 questions with Rookie Wire’s Cody Taylor

·4 min read

After celebrating their run to an NBA title, the Golden State Warriors are turning the page to the draft. On Thursday, the Orlando Magic will kick off the 2022 edition of the NBA draft with the No. 1 pick.

For the first time in two seasons, the Warriors will not hold a lottery pick. Instead, Golden State will hit the clock with the No. 28 selection in the first round. The Warriors have shown the ability to find premier talent at the tail of the draft with previous late picks Jordan Poole and Kevon Looney. To help extend their title window, Bob Myers and Steve Kerr will be challenged with finding another potential contributor at No. 28.

With most Warriors fans still locked in on all things regarding the NBA Finals, Cody Taylor of USA TODAY SMG’s Rookie Wire stopped by to preview the draft for Warriors Wire. Taylor set the scene for Golden State’s draft night by answering three key questions heading into Thursday’s event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

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While we may know some of the big names at the top of the draft, what does the depth look like deeper down the big board?

Taylor: Outside of the projected top three picks, Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith Jr., several players have the potential to have long careers in the NBA. Last year, the draft proved perhaps one of the best classes in recent memory with players up and down the board having great seasons. The class this year may not be that deep but there figures to be some talented players throughout.

What players stand out from the 2022 class as potential options for the Warriors at No. 28?

Taylor: There are rumors the Warriors could look to trade out of the first round in order to shed that guaranteed salary and keep a pathway for James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody to play more minutes. While that may very well happen, there are some prospects to keep an eye on that the team could target if it keeps this pick.

  • Jake LaRavia: LaRavia emerged as a standout during the pre-draft process and has climbed up draft boards. He even pulled out of the scrimmages at the combine because of his strong performance in the individual testing and shooting drills. He has a wide array of offensive skills that should translate well to the NBA, and he could benefit by playing for a contender such as the Warriors. With much uncertainty moving forward in the Warriors’ frontcourt, LaRavia projects to fill some needs.

  • Christian Braun: Some have Braun as a second-round pick but there is a possibility that he sneaks into the first round. He played a key role in the Jayhawks claiming the national title last season. He recorded a 40-inch max vertical leap at the combine and enters the draft as one of the most athletic players. He established himself as a strong two-way player and should bring that ability to the next level.

  • E.J. Liddell: Liddell is widely projected to be off the board by 28 but the fit with the Warriors looks great if he falls to them. The NBA has invited 24 players to attend the draft from the green room, and Liddell isn’t among them. That could mean teams believe he’ll be more of a late first-round pick. He scored in double figures every game last season, averaging 19.4 points per game, and also led the Big Ten in blocked shots. He seems to be a great fit in the Warriors’ system if he is still available.

Do you have a final prediction for the Warriors at No. 28?

Taylor: LaRavia makes just too much sense for the Warriors to pass on should they keep this pick, and he is still on the board. He can do a little bit of everything, a trait the team loves, and still projects to have plenty of room to grow. He has good size at his position and will add some shooting in the frontcourt.

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