There’s plenty of speculation connecting Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman to the Warriors and their No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft. There isn’t as much noise surrounding Golden State and LaMelo Ball, however.
There are reasons for that, and yet, the Bay Area News Group’s Wes Goldberg won’t rule out that pairing. He previously reported that the Warriors believe guard — specifically, point guard — is the strongest position in the draft, and Ball is widely considered to be the top prospect at that position.
That said, if the Warriors do draft a point guard early in the first round, he doesn’t necessarily expect it to be Ball.
“If they believe Ball is likely to develop into an All-Star, they will be prepared to draft him,” Goldberg wrote in a recent mailbag. “However, they are also high on another point guard: Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton.
“While Ball is indeed flashy and No. 1 on many draft analysts’ boards, Haliburton may have an easier time getting on the floor for Golden State. Ball is a high-level passer who sees the floor like Peyton Manning, but he also has a track record for being an inefficient scorer and underperforming defender.”
Between the two, Goldberg explained why Haliburton might be a better fit — at least in the immediate — alongside what the Warriors already have.
“Haliburton is a developed 3-point shooter (41.9 percent on 5.6 3-point attempts per game as a sophomore) and capable of guarding multiple wing positions,” Letourneau continued. “It’s easy to project him playing off the ball and making open jumpers alongside (Steph) Curry and (Klay) Thompson, or leading the Warriors’ second-unit offense.
“If Ball’s jumper doesn’t develop (25 percent on 6.7 3-point attempts per game last season with the Illawarra Hawks) and isn’t a plus-defender right away (unlikely as a 19-year-old), he may be limited to leading bench units for 15 minutes a game.”
The Warriors, obviously, want to add the best player available, but they also have to balance that desire against their ambition to immediately return to championship contention next season. If they think Ball can check both of those boxes, then he could be their guy.
But if they don’t, that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a point guard who can.
[RUNNIN’ PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]