Poole-Paul pivot: will Warriors draft Nick Smith or Jordan Hawkins?
[UPDATE now that CP3 will join GSW]
Let’s get right to it. Here’s how the acquisition of Chris Paul and the departure of Jordan Poole will affect tonight’s 2023 NBA Draft for the Golden State Warriors. Prior to the trade, the Warriors did not appear to have the wiggle room to develop anymore prospects than they already had, so, now, Poole leaving allows them to pick a “best player available” rather than for need.
We had previously written just this last night (published this morning) that a “need” pick would be Indiana senior Trayce Jackson-Davis, plus perhaps a future second-round pick if general manager Mike Dunleavy, Jr. were able to acquire one in the process of moving down from 19:
With the possibility of Nick Smith, Jr. or Jordan Hawkins dropping that far, as we discussed in the previous article, here’s an opportunity to grab a player considered at one time or another a Lottery pick from a deep Draft.
I should also say that NBADraft.net now has Smith as their 19th pick on their mock Draft, replacing Kris Murray. Paid subscribers, see note at the end of this article. Also, here’s their thorough scouting report on Smith: link
We already gave you a lot on Hawkins (reposted below) in the previous post, so here’s NBADraft.net’s Eric Guilleminault on Smith:
With the JP-CP3 trade, the top six players on the Warriors are all seasoned veterans, so it should seem like there’s less urgency to get an NBA-ready player.
Nick Smith was a Top Five high school prospect, was in everyone’s Top Five in the 2023 Draft back in September-October. He’s a combo guard, freakishly athletic, but sustained a knee injury, came back the last third of his season and was very sporadic, thus hurting his stock.
He’s a “buy-low special” who needs to work on his point guard skills and his jumper, but you do have CP3 and Steph to mentor him for at least one season or more. By the way, his agency is Klutch.
And here’s the repost on Hawkins:
Currently, Hawkins is listed on TheAthletic’s non-beatwriter mock at 19 by Sam Vecenie, their annual Draft specialist, but most boards have Hawkins taken by 16, with the UConn NCAA tournament star at the edge of the Lottery at 14 on Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo’s board for DraftExpress/ESPN. As such, Hawkins probably will not be there at 19 and has previously been talked about as high as 11. If he’s available at 19, Eric predicts the Warriors will go ahead and select him, as he possibly could take the role of Donte DiVincenzo, assuming DiVincenzo leaves for a lucrative free agent contract elsewhere. What I like about Hawkins is that the Dubs would nab a Lotto-ish pick in a deep Draft for the price of five rookie scale slots lower than advertised. Of course, the downside is that he’s “only” 6-foot-4 and 21 years old, plus needs to fill out his body. However, so-called “elite shooters” who have proven themselves on big stages don’t come along that often and getting one now makes the transition from the Steph-Klay-Dray era into the next one a few years from now a little more seamless.
Plus the rave reviews from Sam Vecenie of TheAthletic:
UConn had him sprint off screening actions, using his pristine shooting mechanics and ability to stop on a dime to get open and can 3s. He averaged 16 points and was a critical piece of the national champion Huskies, keying their perimeter attack with how much teams had to respect his gravitational force. Hawkins also improved a bit off the bounce this past season, becoming an impactful, effective attacker of closeouts … Hawkins would really fit (the Warriors) offense well as a guy who can fly around screens and knock down shots at an elite level.
As far as the good and bad of acquiring CP while letting go of JP, we’ll get to that tomorrow. And with that, LetsGoWarriors officially pivots to Smith or Hawkins, thank you very much, MDJ! (Published with less than hour to go before the first pick…) 🥵
[Paid subscribers: The previous intel on Nick Smith is obviously being reconsidered at this point, per the thesis of this article.]