Warriors do more forward thinking

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» Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:53 pm
Janny Hu, Chronicle Staff Writer

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Warriors may not have settled on a player yet for the ninth pick in the NBA Draft, but Sunday brought an indication of where they might be leaning.

Golden State wrapped up six weeks of workouts this weekend by inviting back New Mexico's Danny Granger, Syracuse's Hakim Warrick and North Carolina's Sean May for one last look-over.

The trio of college frontcourt players, along with LSU's Brandon Bass (a potential second-round pick), were put through shooting drills and two-on-two scrimmages during a morning visit. Once the session was over, Granger, Warrick and May jetted to New York, where the draft will be held Tuesday night.

"I thought I would be more excited to be done with workouts," Warrick said, "but I'm a little more nervous now."

Ditto for the Warriors, who spent the weekend "mocking it up," or putting together their own mock drafts, without knowing what the eight teams ahead of them are planning to do.

"You have conversations with other teams and you don't really know what is real," general manager Rod Higgins said.

For the Warriors, reality is this: Vice president Chris Mullin does not expect the team's first-round choice to be an immediate impact player. The draftee, however, can help improve problem areas like defense and rebounding, he said.

Each of Sunday's callbacks would do so differently.

Granger, a 6-8, 225-pound power forward out of New Mexico, is projected as an NBA small forward. Scouts laud his all-around game and particularly like his rebounding and passing ability.

But Granger's stock has been steadily rising, and he might be gone by the time the Warriors select. Mock drafts have him projected as high as sixth. Granger hails from Metairie, La., and he might be an appealing pick for New Orleans if the Hornets trade down from No. 4.

Granger and Warrick held a workout during the pre-draft camp in Chicago that highlighted their competitiveness as much as their different styles. Warrick's leverage is his athleticism -- at 6-8, 215 pounds, he has the speed and vertical game that feeds into the Warriors' up-tempo style.

May, the thickest of the three at 6-8, 258 pounds, has received less pre- draft attention than the other two but was the leader of North Carolina's NCAA championship team and possesses an already polished post-up game.

While the three are likely headed to separate cities, they will begin Tuesday together. Granger, Warrick and May were among the 15 players invited to watch the draft unfold from the Green Room at Madison Square Garden, where the Warriors guessing game finally ends.

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