NBA Draft

Five NBA draft prospects who fit Warriors at No. 19 pick

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The Warriors’ last seven picks in the NBA draft all have had one thing in common: Each were teenagers when selected by Golden State.

Those said players are in recent order are Patrick Baldwin Jr., Ryan Rollins, Gui Santos, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, James Wiseman and Nico Mannion. Jordan Poole turned 20 years old one week before being the Warriors’ first-round pick in the 2019 draft and their top second-round pick that year, Alen Smailagic, was two months away from turning 19.

Between the Warriors’ disappointing second-round exit in the NBA playoffs, moving Wiseman to the Detroit Pistons before last season’s trade deadline in a win-now move to bring back Gary Payton II back and Jama Mahlelala’s departure to the Toronto Raptors, the franchise could be changing up their recent strategy.

New Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. was a standout three-year player at Duke and enters his first draft in his promotion at a crucial time. The Warriors from all notions publicly and privately appear to be all-in on Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, who is hitting unrestricted free agency after turning down his $27.6 million player option, leading the charge to more title contention in the immediate future.

If Dunleavy keeps the No. 19 pick in Thursday night’s draft, here are five players who fit the Warriors at that slot.

Kris Murray, Forward, Iowa

Let’s keep it local to start. Murray is the twin brother of Sacramento Kings rookie Keegan Murray, who, like his twin, should be able to step in and produce for an NBA team from the jump. Murray knows his role and isn’t going to try and be something he isn’t.

Kris a 3-and-D player who can knock down the deep ball and isn’t afraid to get his nose in the action of things down low at the same time. Murray stepped into his brother’s spot last season at Iowa and averaged 20.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. The left-hander shot 33.5 percent from 3-point range last season as a junior, but 38.7 percent the previous year as a sophomore.

The 6-foot-8 Murray will do all the little things well, something that will be welcomed by the Warriors. He’s versatile defensively and even if he isn’t a Kuminga-like athlete, Murray will use his awareness to his advantage. His downside? Murray will turn 23 years old before his rookie year begins.

A handful of teams will cross him off their big board solely for that reason. The Warriors shouldn’t be one of those teams.

Jaime Jaquez Jr., Wing, UCLA

Though he isn’t the fastest and isn’t going to jump the highest, Jaquez’s footwork is that of a masterful dancer worth the price of admission. The 6-foot-6 wing uses his experience and smarts combined with his footwork to manipulate defenders and create space. He’s the kind of player who will bring energy from the bench to the hardwood and makes others around him better.

It’s easy to see Kerr giving Jaquez real minutes early in his NBA career.

The UCLA product is 22 years old and played four seasons for the Bruins, and more than a few of his games were under the bright lights. Jaquez averaged 17.8 points and 8.2 rebounds as a senior while shooting 48.1 percent from the field. The concern is he only made 31.7 percent of his 3-point attempts, and shot 27.6 percent beyond the arc as a junior. He did make 39.4 percent of his threes as a sophomore, and already is a strong threat in the mid-range game.

Jaquez isn’t going to force the issue offensively and his years in the college game won’t have him lost on defense. Competitiveness isn’t going to be a worry, and as the Warriors look to re-establish their culture, Jaquez would be a strong start in doing so.

Jordan Hawkins, Shooting Guard, UConn

Warriors fans for years have watched Steph Curry run a personal marathon, wearing defenders down in Kerr’s motion offense. Enter Hawkins, an elite shooter who runs circles around opponents coming off screens.

Hawkins, 21, drained 38.8 percent of his 3-pointers last season as a sophomore at UConn on 7.6 attempts per game. The Huskies were crowned champions this year and Hawkins was a major reason why. He averaged 16.3 points over six March Madness games, shooting 50 percent from long distance and had two games of at least 20 points on his title run.

There are concerns about Hawkins slight frame at 6-foot-4 and 186 pounds. He likely never will be a lock-down defender and could be bullied by players early on. But Hawkins also played for a premier program and is a proven winner.

Shooting always will be a skill set the Warriors froth at, and Hawkins might be the best movement shooter in the draft.

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Power Forward/Center, Indiana

We already know how everything played out the last time the Warriors took a big man early on in the draft. Jackson-Davis would be a different case as a former highly regarded high school prospect who spent four seasons at Indiana.

Like Kevon Looney, Jackson-Davis should be able to execute offensively on a team where he’s surrounded by shooters. At 6-foot-8, he’s a lob threat, but not only a lob threat. Jackson-Davis handed out 4.0 assists per game as a senior and has displayed different ways of being a playmaker. He’s 23 years old, giving him the kind of seasoning where Jackson-Davis shouldn’t need years to understand responsibilities under Kerr.

Jackson-Davis has a 7-foot-1 wingspan, is regarded as a top athlete and swatted away 2.9 shots per game this past season. He isn’t going to stretch the floor, though he doesn’t look like a prospect that will clog the flow in the paint. The big, yet undersized center, asserts himself with an edge and could be a strong complement to Kevon Looney and the Warriors’ thin frontcourt.

RELATED: Exploring Warriors’ four likeliest draft options at No. 19

Gradey Dick, Shooting Guard, Kansas

The above four prospects are all at least 21 years old. Dick is the lone player under the legal drinking age, turns 20 in late November and has the least amount of college experience as a one-and-down rookie to be.

But if he somehow falls to No. 19, the Warriors should jump at the opportunity to take the best player available and add Dick’s smooth stroke.

Dick, like Hawkins, brings immediate shooting ability to the NBA. Even more so than Hawkins and is seen as a lottery pick by most experts. Still, anything can happen in the draft. There are always surprise fallers and risers. The 6-foot-6 Dick dropping to the Warriors would be a blessing for Kerr, the rest of the coaching staff and players already on the roster.

In his lone season at Kansas, the former McDonald's All-American put up 14.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game on 48.4/40.3/85.4 shooting splits. Dick has been praised for his feel in high school and college, and though he only averaged 1.7 assists for the Jayhawks, most evaluators believe he has much more playmaking inside of him.

The Warriors are in win-now mode. That should mean a prospect who has multiple years of college to lean on. Dick is the exception if Dunleavy stays at No. 19 and the sharpshooter hasn’t heard his name called yet.

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