During pre-draft interviews, Warriors executives have made one thing clear to prospects: Whoever the team selects in the lottery will be expected to contribute next season.
This should come as no big surprise considering that Golden State is eager to maximize what’s left of Stephen Curry’s prime. But in a July 29 draft that boasts five — perhaps six — elite prospects, the Warriors face a conundrum with the seventh and 14th picks: How do they balance a win-now mentality with a desire to build for the future?
Their pre-draft-interview edicts aside, the Warriors still want to follow the Spurs’ blueprint for long-term relevance. This means stockpiling talented young players who can help lead the team into a new era once Curry (age 33), Draymond Green (31) and Klay Thompson (31) decline in production or retire.
Golden State’s two most notable youngsters — James Wiseman (20) and Jordan Poole (22) — are promising, but they have yet to prove they can be the face of the post-Curry Warriors. Odds are that general manager Bob Myers won’t have a better opportunity than next week’s draft to select someone capable of being groomed for such a role. If all goes as planned, the Warriors don’t figure to be lottery-bound anytime soon.
But given ownership’s desire to rebound from two playoff-less seasons and vault back into title contention, Myers recognizes that he must take someone at No. 7 who’s well-equipped to help immediately.…