NBA Mock Draft: Warriors take 'big riser' with flashes of DPOY candidates

NBA Draft Combine drills in Chicago
NBA Draft Combine drills in Chicago / Anadolu/GettyImages

The 2024 NBA Draft is now less than two weeks away, though the Golden State Warriors won't enter until the second night with the 52nd overall pick in the second-round.

The value of Trayce Jackson-Davis as the 57th pick last year has redefined the sort of impact a late pick can have, with the Warriors again likely to look at at a more mature prospect with years of collegiete experience.

The Golden State Warriors could take one of the biggest pre-draft risers according to Bleacher Report's latest analysis

The latest to be linked to Golden State's selection is Enrique Freeman -- a 6'7" power forward whose stock has risen dramatically in recent weeks. After a strong combine the 23-year-old is now projected to go 52nd to the Warriors in Bleacher Report's mock draft, with analyst Jonathan Wasserman labelling him "the biggest riser of the pre-draft process so far."

Getting drafted would cap a remarkable ascension for Freeman who initially began as a walk on at Akron after drawing little college interest. He averaged less than two minutes in seven games during his freshman season in 2019-20, but has since seen his playing time grow all the way to 32.4 minutes this year where he averaged 18.6 points, 12.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.7 blocks per game.

His offensive efficiency was on show this season, having shot 58.4% from the floor and 37% from three-point range. That translated to a recent combine scrimmage where he was the game's leading scorer according to ESPN's Jeremy Woo.

"Freeman scored a game-high 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting and knocked down a pair of 3s, showing off inside-out versatility. While not a historically good shooter from range, Freeman seems to be developing that part of his game. He has enough skill to create mismatches in the post and was productive the past two years at Akron."

Jeremy Woo

But while Freeman may have lifted his offensive output this season, it may remain the other side of the ball where he makes his name at NBA level. His profile notes him as having "elite defensive traits" while even suggesting that "he has flashes of Draymond Green and Herbert Jones."

Adding another versatile, high-level defender could be important for the Warriors going forward as Green enters the final years of his career, particularly if Freeman can continue to develop his offensive game to become a reasonable threat from beyond the arc.