The Golden State Warriors reported desire to acquire a higher pick in this week’s NBA Draft may be gaining credence, with the franchise potentially looking to move up in order to gain access to Duke big man Dereck Lively II.
Last week ESPN’s Jonathan Givony stunned Warrior fans by stating the franchise could be using Jonathan Kuminga as trade bait in exploring the opportunity to acquire a higher pick. While the idea bemused many, it was an early indication that Golden State could be targeting a specific prospect in Thursday’s draft.
The Golden State Warriors’ interest in moving up the draft order correlates with Dereck Lively II’s rising prospects over the last few weeks.
Lively has long been considered an option for the Warriors after the franchise dealt former number two overall pick James Wiseman at February’s trade deadline. However, as the draft has drawn closer, the prospect of Lively being available at Golden State’s pick 19 has become more and more unrealistic.
According to Action Network’s Matt Moore, the Warriors are one of two teams who could seek a move up the draft in order to gain access to the athletic 7’1″ big man.
"“The Hawks and Warriors are two teams that I’ve heard from multiple sources are interested in pursuing a pick to take Lively, and it seems like it’s going to need to be at least 10th to get there”, Moore wrote."
Lively has exploded up draft rankings and into top ten calculations, leaving the Warriors with no other option than exploring trade avenues to secure the 19-year-old should they wish. ESPN and Bleacher Report each have the Dallas Mavericks selecting Lively with pick 10 in their mock drafts, while The Ringer has him taken at pick 11 by the Orlando Magic.
Golden State will almost certainly need to move youngsters Jonathan Kuminga or Moses Moody in order to obtain a top 11 pick. Perhaps their only other option would be to put little to no protection on their 2026 first-round pick.
After dealing the seven-foot Wiseman, the Warriors tallest player was/is rookie forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. Golden State could certainly do with Lively’s combination of size and athleticism, though his ability to contribute to a win-now team is a different question altogether.
In 32 games with Duke this season, Lively averaged 5.4 points, five rebounds and an impressive 2.3 blocks in 19.8 minutes per game. The 2023 NBA Draft will take place at Barclays Center this Thursday June 22.