SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Golden State Warriors will build a roster with the mission to repeat as NBA champions.
How the team’s new draft picks will fit into that quest remains to be seen.
The Warriors selected forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with the 28th overall pick in the NBA draft Thursday night.
“Another Milwaukee guy, we like Milwaukee guys,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said with a smile, referencing guard Jordan Poole and big man Kevon Looney.
Golden State now has five players age 20 and under.
The 6-foot-9, 220-pound Baldwin is considered a versatile option with his ability to pass even though he missed much of his lone college season with a nagging left ankle injury. He averaged 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in 11 games — and he likely will have ample time to develop early on with the newly crowned NBA champions.
The Warriors traded their selection at No. 51 in the second round for Atlanta’s 44th pick and acquired guard Ryan Rollins out of Toledo, also sending cash to the Hawks. The 6-4 Rollins scored 18.9 points per game while also averaging 6.0 rebounds and 1.74 steals during his sophomore season. With the 55th pick, Golden State took Gui Santos, a 6-8 forward from the Novo Basquete Brasil league. It’s unclear whether he will be on the roster right away.
“All very different players,” Myers said.
Myers has said it will be a priority to bring back as many of the team’s free agents as possible to make a run at a repeat, so the newcomers will be called upon to learn and complement superstars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.
That means a youngster such as Baldwin will be given time to learn the system and work his way into contributing for coach Steve Kerr, who likes to give everyone on the roster a chance.
“It’s a hard lineup to crack because we have some older guys,” Myers said of the youngsters being able to contribute immediately. “Depends on who we sign in free agency. Depends on if they’re better than the rookies we have now.”
Myers and his front-office staff had a matter of days to prepare for the draft, much like has been the case for Golden State during its run to dynasty status with six NBA Finals trips in eight years and four championships during that span.
The Warriors also had the 28th selection in 2019, selecting Jordan Poole out of Michigan.
Poole spent time in the G League before emerging as a star this season. The Warriors would like to bring back Poole, Looney and Andrew Wiggins.
“We’re going to have to work hard to bring those guys back,” Myers said.
Center James Wiseman — the second pick by the Warriors in 2020 — missed the entire season recovering from right knee surgery, and he continues making positive strides and is planning to take part in summer league in some capacity. Wiseman also benefited from watching and learning from Looney.
“It’s a big summer for James, and good news is he’s doing really well,” Kerr said this week.
Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, both coming off stellar rookie seasons, also are scheduled to play in summer leagues either in San Francisco or Las Vegas.
Myers figures on Wiseman, Kuminga and Moody being part of the rotation as Moody and Kuminga were during the playoffs.
“You’re not doing that for charity. Those guys earned those minutes,” Myers said.