Former Warriors general manager Bob Myers revisited the pivotal 2020 NBA Draft and shared a little remorse.
A disastrous 2020 season for the Warriors gave them the opportunity to draft a player second overall into a still-open contention window. They took James Wiseman, a raw 7-foot center out of Memphis who did not pan out in Golden State; that whiff became even more costly as the players they passed on, such as 12th-overall pick Indiana Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton, took off.
On a pre-game segment for the In-Season Tournament on Thursday for ESPN’s “NBA Countdown,” Myers said he should have known Haliburton would be a star when the guard impressed Golden State’s brass in a pre-draft workout four years ago.
“Let’s talk about that. That workout was a few miles from here in Vegas,” Myers said on the show. “Myself, Steve Kerr, Joe Lacob and he did what he does. He made a ton of shots and we looked at each other and said ‘he might be pretty good.’ Different kind of shot, kind of a set shot, but he made them all.
“What bothers me more than anything was his workout was good (but) when we met with him after, I should have known then because of how he is as a person and as a leader. Because you meet with people, you talk to them. But that conversation left a mark because of how smart he is and how confident (he is). It’s not fake, it’s not arrogant, it’s confidence.”
The Sacramento Kings selected Haliburton and traded him to the Pacers in early 2022 for center Domantas Sabonis. Haliburton, 23, is a rising star in Indiana. He was an All-Star last year and is led the Pacers to the In-Season Tournament final along with a 12-8 record to start the season.
“When you talk about players wanting to play with him, it’s real,” Myers said. “Because he’s a great player. He’s showing us now he’s a great player and this is a fantastic stage for him. But more than that, there’s a lot of players in the NBA that people do not want to play with. If you’re a great player and a great person, then people want to play with you. He’s doing it. I’m thrilled for the Pacers, I’m thrilled for that community. That’s a basketball town and they’re lucky to have ths guy and we’re lucky to be able to watch him because he deserves it. He’s earned this stage.”