Warriors enter 2022 NBA Draft looking to add young talent to core

The future comes at you fast. The confetti hasn’t been completely swept off Market Street, but the championship parade is already part of the past. The Golden State Warriors’ future begins Thursday evening with the NBA draft.

One of the most intriguing subplots of the past year was the Warriors’ attempt to do one of the hardest things in sports: win now and develop for the future.

Task 1 was wildly successful. Task 2? Remains to be seen.

“It was ambitious from the start,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “I think I used the term ‘threading the needle.’ And that’s what it felt like.”

(LR) Golden State Warriors General Manager Bob Myers, Head Coach Steve Kerr, Director of Sports Medicine & Performance Rick Celebrini, and guard Gary Payton II are seen during NBA Finals Practice and Media Availability at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

Stephen Lam/The Chronicle

Last summer, the Warriors resisted the urge to trade youth for an experienced player who could help the team win now. Resisted the urge to add a big man because injured James Wiseman couldn’t contribute. They wanted to see their older players healthy together. They wanted to see their youngsters develop. They wanted to do both at the same time.

Now, in Thursday’s draft, the Warriors will attempt to add another player to their promising young core. The youth brigade’s contributions ranged from none to enormous in the championship drive. That the Warriors were able to win a title and make the flip from the worst team in 2020 to the best in 2022 with zero contribution from the reward for that awful season — Wiseman, the No. 2 overall pick — is astonishing.

They did get an enormous bump from Jordan Poole, who was the 28th pick in the draft three years ago. They got significant minutes during the playoff run from both Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, the seventh and 14th overall picks from a year ago. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they are the first rookie lottery-pick teammates to play in the NBA Finals and are the youngest pair of teammates to win a championship.

Though Kuminga and Moody played sparingly against Boston in the Finals, they had key contributions during the postseason. And their learning curve — along with Wiseman’s — went beyond actually being on the court.

“The experience is invaluable,” general manager Bob Myers said. “Just to see how hard it is, how long it is, what it takes, the focus. … They got to see it and experience it. The hope would be when they’re back, if they’re back, that they’ll have a sense of what it takes.”

Kerr noted that one often sees young NBA players, maybe accompanied by a coach, in the stands at Finals games, “just trying to absorb the atmosphere.”

For the Warriors’ youth, the experience was “that times 10,” Kerr said.

“You’re in all the meetings, you’re sitting there, sometimes you’re getting in games. All of that for a two-month journey. That’s what makes winning an NBA championship so hard. It’s two months of prepping for four different teams and the stress of not only the games, but waiting for the next game to start, the anticipation.”

Golden State Warriors' James Wiseman sits on the bench before Warriors play Boston Celtics during Game 6 of NBA Finals at TD Garden in Boston Mass., on Thursday, June 16, 2022.

Golden State Warriors’ James Wiseman sits on the bench before Warriors play Boston Celtics during Game 6 of NBA Finals at TD Garden in Boston Mass., on Thursday, June 16, 2022.

Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

Kuminga, Moody and Wiseman soon will have the opportunity to show something of what they learned in Summer League together.

The young Warriors could look at the older players, who were mostly babies themselves when this run started, and see how they handled everything that came their way.

“Watching this group of veterans,” Myers said. “How they moved through it. That’s the advantage of having the stewardship of those guys that have done it.”

The 30-somethings are keenly aware of their influence. You could see it throughout the playoffs as they would lean over and say something to the younger players on the bench, joke with them in practice, high-five them as they came off the court.

Andre Iguodala relayed an anecdote on Draymond Green’s podcast, hours after the team had eliminated Boston. He talked about a point in Game 5, after Kevon Looney had gotten into quick foul trouble, when assistant coach Mike Brown told Iguodala he was going in for a minute.

Iguodala, a Finals MVP and the most experienced player on the roster, described his mind-set.

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