The Warriors’ brain trust will probably be haggling over which way to go with the 11th overall pick in Thursday’s draft until they’re on the clock.
After prioritizing their all-too-many deficiencies, the internal lobbying will probably come down to deciding whether to select a shooting guard to back up (replace?) Monta Ellis or a big man to shore up a perpetually porous interior defense.
Either way, when choosing outside the top 10 in a weak field, Golden State isn’t going to land a player who will singularly transform it into a playoff contender. But the first selection for new team advisor Jerry West and coach Mark Jackson must make an instant impact.
The most NBA-ready big guard is 6-foot-7 Klay Thompson from Washington State. The 21-year-old son of former No. 1 overall pick Mychal Thompson is an excellent pure shooter who averaged 22 points per game for the Cougars last season, including 39 percent from beyond the arc.
Colorado’s 6-foot-6 sharpshooter Alec Burks is another intriguing candidate. Burks, who turns 20 next month, averaged 20.5 points per game during his sophomore season with the Buffaloes and has drawn praise from new tutor Chauncey Billups of the New York Knicks.
Although Burks doesn’t have Thompson’s 3-point range, a 6-foot-10 wingspan makes him a nightmare to cover. Not lacking in confidence, Burks compares his offensive prowess to two-time NBA scoring champ Tracy McGrady. Too bad neither Burks nor Thompson is an exceptional athlete or defender.
The most physically imposing player likely to still be available to the Warriors is Bismack Biyombo, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound power forward from the Republic of the Congo who played professionally in Spain last year.
Biyombo, only 18, is a fierce rebounder with a freakish 7-foot-7 wingspan. However, scouts cringe at his bad hands and poor shooting touch. That said, Biyombo, who speaks six languages and only started playing basketball in high school, may be just the kind of promising, but raw talent the Warriors should pick.
Hey, when you have the smallest backcourt in the league with Ellis and Stephen Curry, you’d better have a strong defensive presence behind them. Besides, the Warriors could launch a great promotional campaign for their imposing, new shot-blocking tandem of Biyombo and Ekpe Udoh: “The Smother Brothers.”
KGO (810 AM) Sports Director Rich Walcoff can be heard weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on the KGO morning news. He can be reached at RichWalcoff@gmail.com.