While trade rumors swirl about power forward Anthony Randolph, the
Warriors worked out another power forward who could potentially become a
Baylor big man Ekpe Udoh — listed at 6-foot-10, 240 pounds — highlighted
a sextet of NBA draft candidates who worked out for the Warriors on
Saturday at the team’s Oakland practice facility, including Marshall
center Hassan Whiteside and Butler swingman Gordon Hayward.
Udoh might be considered a reach for the Warriors, who are drafting at No. 6. But the athletic big man said his game fits because he loves defense and runs the floor.
"I would love to be here," said Udoh, who averaged 9.8 rebounds and 3.7 blocks for Baylor last season.
If Randolph is gone, a spot would open up for another small forward. Reports have surfaced about the Warriors talking to Minnesota about a trade involving Randolph, the Timberwolves’ No. 4 pick and maybe one of Minnesota’s big men, Al Jefferson or Kevin Love.
General manager Larry Riley would not confirm or deny trade rumors, per team policy.
"My position all along on Randolph is that we aren’t trading him unless there is a really good player on the other end," Riley said. "Every time my phone starts ringing, people start asking about him. What does that tell you? I’m not rushing to make any rash decisions. But it’s my job to listen."
Riley said interest in the Warriors’ pick falls short of "solid." Because of that, he said, it appears the Warriors will use the No. 6 pick, though he acknowledged plenty discussions are still to come.
If Golden State uses its pick, Udoh is hoping he’s the guy. He said he’s had conversations and dinner with the Warriors staff. He’s been projected to go as high as No. 8 and as low as No. 16, depending on the online mock draft. But if the Warriors miss out on all the top prospects, as is expected, they may be left with choosing from the best of the second tier.
Udoh is a fit in the obvious areas. He blocks shots, plays defense and can run the floor. And while in most cases it is a knock for him to be 23 and four years removed from high school, he sees it as a sign of his readiness that he has three years of college experience under his belt. (He sat out a year after transferring from Michigan to Baylor.)
If Udoh — whose offensive game is still raw — impresses the Warriors enough, it isn’t unfathomable they could take him. It’s also possible the Warriors could trade down and draft him later at a better value.