OAKLAND (AP) — The Golden State Warriors moved into the first-round of the NBA draft Thursday night and took Serbian guard Nemanja Nedovic with the 30th overall pick.
The Warriors entered the draft without a pick before a flurry of deals gave them the final pick of the first round. Golden State first acquired the No. 26 pick from Minnesota for cash and a future second-round pick and then traded down three spots to No. 29 with Oklahoma City. The Warriors followed that by flipping spots with Phoenix and taking Nedovic 30th overall.
The 22-year-old Nedovic played in Lithuania last season, averaging 9.8 points and 2.1 assists for Lietuvos rytas in 10 Euro League games. Nedovic, listed at 6-foot-3, 192 pounds, played the previous three years in Serbia.
The Warriors also acquired guard Malcolm Lee from the Timberwolves in the initial deal. Lee averaged 4.9 points in 16 games for Minnesota last season.
General manager Bob Myers wanted to acquire a pick after the team had lost both picks in previous deals. Golden State’s first-round pick (21st overall) ended up with Minnesota, finally paying off a debt from a series of complicated moves that started when the team sent a protected first-round pick to New Jersey for Marcus Williams in 2008. Williams played just nine games for the Warriors.
The Timberwolves got Louisville center Gorgui Dieng with the pick.
Golden State’s second-round pick (51st overall) was shipped away in the trade to get David Lee from the New York Knicks in 2010 and ended up in Orlando’s hands.
This is not the first time the Warriors have bought a draft pick under owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. The Warriors paid Charlotte $2 million to move up in the second round and select Jeremy Tyler 39th overall in 2011.
Tyler did not work out in Golden State but Myers did well in his first draft a year ago when he took three players — Harrison Barnes (seventh), Festus Ezeli (30th) and Draymond Green (35th) — who became immediate contributors to a team that made it to the second round of the playoffs for the second time since 1991. The Warriors also stashed Ognjen Kuzmic (52nd) of Bosnia and Herzegovina back in Europe.
The Warriors went from a 23-43 record during the lockout-shortened season to a 47-35 team in the second season under coach Mark Jackson. Golden State earned the sixth seed in the Western Conference for its second playoff berth since 1994 and knocked out Denver in the first round. The Warriors eventually lost to San Antonio in six games in the second round.
The team’s young nucleus — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Barnes, Lee and Andrew Bogut — will all be back. But there will still be needs to fill, either through the draft or free agency.
Ezeli will be sidelined a minimum of six to nine months after right knee surgery two weeks ago, so finding another backup center has become a pressing need. Guard Jarrett Jack will be a free agent, and power forward Carl Landry informed the Warriors on Wednesday that he would opt out of the final year of his two-year, $8 million deal, to become a free agent.