Dickey: Plenty of intrigue for Warriors entering draft 

Warriors general manager Larry Riley talked more of last year’s selection, Stephen Curry, than of this year’s at a predraft meeting with a few members of the media, but he did have some interesting remarks about the team’s future.

Frankly, I didn’t expect Riley to give anything away.

Last year, Riley talked so extensively about power forward Jordan Hill, and praised him so effusively, that some in the room thought the Warriors would go for Hill, if he were available. I thought just the opposite: Riley wouldn’t have talked so much about Hill if he were in the Warriors plans. Hill went eighth, one slot after Curry.

Riley said he had wanted Curry from the first time he scouted him last year. Coach Don Nelson didn’t have a chance to see Curry during the season, of course, but when he watched videos, he saw what Riley had seen. “Everybody wondered who was gong to make the decision,” Riley said, “but in the end, it didn’t matter because we both wanted the same guy.”

Until days before the draft, Riley thought they wouldn’t have a chance for Curry at No. 7.

“But two days before the draft, I realized we could get him.” Riley didn’t elaborate but obviously he had learned that three point guards would be taken just ahead of the Warriors, two by the Minnesota Timberwolves. “I was glad that not everybody was as high on Steph as we were.”

Riley made it clear that the Warriors are building around Curry. A year ago, they were trying to keep Monta Ellis happy. Now?

“You don’t build around a 2 [off guard],” Riley said. As talented as Ellis is, the Warriors need more size at that position, so it wouldn’t be a shock if he were traded.

The rumored trade bait, though, is Anthony Randolph, the talented and young (21 next month) power forward.

“Every time I say I’m not going to trade Randolph, I get a call from another general manager who thinks that’s a smoke screen,” Riley said. “So I ask him, ‘Who’s your best player? Do you want to trade him?’ I’ll only trade Randolph if I get a very good player in return. I think he has a tremendous upside.”

Still, Riley said he wouldn’t hesitate to draft a big man, and this draft is heavy with them. Asked about two of them, Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins, and Georgetown’s Greg Monroe, Riley said he thought both will be good NBA players. Which one will be ready earliest? “Monroe,” said Riley, without hesitation. For that reason, among others, Monroe is the more likely pick for the Warriors.

Riley said Nelson has had less input this year than last because, “this is a draft for the future of the team, not just next season.”

Nor does the upcoming ownership change make a difference in his plans.

“I haven’t been restricted in any way, except in a signing that would take us into the luxury tax bracket,” Riley said.

It’s hard to evaluate the Warriors because they had so many injuries last season, but they have some young players with potential. They’ll try to build on hat in two days.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. E-mail him at glenndickey@hotmail.com.

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Glenn Dickey

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