In the end, the ping-pong balls didn’t bounce the Warriors’ way.
Well, not entirely.
The Warriors wound up with the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday night’s 2020 NBA Draft Lottery, with the Minnesota Timberwolves grabbing the top pick. That’s not a bad thing, though. There is no transcendent talent atop this class, and there is a ton of uncertainty about which of the top players are best suited to thrive in the NBA.
Most mock drafts have the T-Wolves drafting Georgia wing Anthony Edwards, leaving the Warriors with their choice between a litany of talented but imperfect prospects, including James Wiseman, LaMelo Ball, Deni Avdija and Tyrese Halliburton.
Landing the No. 2 pick in this draft is a gift for the Warriors. It relieves them of the pressure of having the No. 1 overall pick and gives them the freedom to deal the selection for a veteran who could be the final piece in the dynasty’s rebirth.
The No. 2 overall pick also has been a charmed selection for Bay Area sports teams of late.
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You’ll remember in 2019 that the 49ers, fresh off a 4-12 season, earned the No. 2 overall pick. Heading into the season, there was one player atop all draft boards — defensive end Nick Bosa. For months, it was expected that the Arizona Cardinals would take Bosa with the No. 1 overall pick, adding a defensive cornerstone to a franchise in full rebuild mode.
But the Cardinals zagged late in the process. After Kyler Murray’s historic Heisman Trophy-winning season at Oklahoma, the Cardinals drafted the Sooners signal-caller No. 1 and made Kliff Kingsbury their head coach to maximize Murray’s NFL ceiling.
What was a great pick by the Cardinals also was a gift for the 49ers, as Bosa, the best player in the draft, fell into their lap at No. 2, and general manager John Lynch couldn’t turn in the pick fast enough.
All Bosa did in his first year with the 49ers was make Pro Football Focus history by totaling 80 quarterback pressures with 10 sacks, 18 QB hits and 52 pressures en route to winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by a landslide. Bosa was the missing cog in a 49ers defense that was ready to assert itself as a dominant force in the league. With Arik Armstead, Dee Ford and DeForest Buckner along the defensive line with him, Bosa was able to create havoc in the backfield every Sunday, and showcased early on that he would be one of the NFL’s next stars.
Not to be outdone on the No. 2 overall pick magic scale, the Giants selected catcher Joey Bart there in the 2018 MLB Draft, one spot behind Detroit Tigers right-hander Casey Mize.
Mize made his big-league debut Wednesday, and Bart followed Thursday when he made his debut against the Los Angeles Angels and went 1-for-3 with a 109.5-mph rocket for his first big league hit. That 109.5-mph laser was the fourth-hardest hit ball by a Giant this season, and showed why the Giants and their fans have been so high on the young catcher since he entered the organization.
Joey Bart’s first big league hit was an absolute rocket: pic.twitter.com/bE0eAddVtd
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 21, 2020
It was only one game, but Bart has the bat and glove to be the Giants’ backstop and clubhouse leader for the next decade. He worked on game-calling and his approach against right-handed pitching at the Giants’ alternate site in Sacramento, but after three weeks, it was time for Bart to finally arrive in the Bay Area.
It was a debut Giants fans had been waiting for, and Bart did not disappoint.
The Warriors have a lot of options in front of them as the draft — currently set for Oct. 16 — approaches. Looking to return to championship form next season, the Warriors must weigh the cost of prioritizing the end of one dynasty over the potential beginning of another.
President of basketball operations Bob Myers might choose to deal the pick in order to get a player more suited to help Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green immediately. But if they keep it, the newest Warrior could join Bosa and Bart as No. 2 picks who became the next face of Bay Area sports.