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Nation & World

NBA Draft Day – The Impossible Dream To Beat The Golden State Warriors?

Golden State Warriors celebrate their 2017 NBA Championship at The Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, Calif., on June 15.
Golden State Warriors celebrate their 2017 NBA Championship at The Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, Calif., on June 15.

For those too young to remember the NBA's Michael Jordan era, you're living it now. The Golden State Warriors are the new Michael Jordan.

When Jordan ruled the earth's hardwood, everyone else played for second. That's where we are today with the super team from the Bay Area that just wrapped up its second title in three years.

So why even play games for the next 3 to 5 years? Just build a permanent trophy case in Oakland's Oracle Arena, right?

WRONG.

Sports, if anything, represent hope. It's why they play the games. On any given Sunday. David did beat Goliath.

Which brings us to today's annual day of NBA hope – the draft. Teams will replenish rosters with fresh faced, college-aged talent; they'll execute trades to move up in the draft order.

Draft day also begins what's expected to be a frenzied summer that will see the better teams try to beef up AND bolster their rosters in an effort to challenge you-know-who.

Here's some of what's being said about the expected frenzy – an offseason drama that may as well be scored to " Man of La Mancha."

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe

"Cleveland is closer than anyone to competing with Golden State, and the only player who realistically gets them closer is [Indiana Pacers star Paul] George."

That's from a CBSSPORTS.com article titled "Six trades or free-agent signings that could challenge Warriors' NBA supremacy." The article also suggests sending Chicago's Jimmy Butler and Utah's Gordon Hayward to Boston, Chris Paul of the L.A. Clippers to San Antonio and sums up with the three-team trade that would "save the world."

To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

If the quest to topple Golden State begins with tonight's draft, it's not as easy as taking one of the projected stars, such as Washington's Markelle Fultz, UCLA's Lonzo Ball OR Josh Jackson of Kansas. Teams have to get the right players that fit, then develop them into stars, says Neil Paine from fivethirtyeight.com. "To beat the Warriors," Paine writes, "you have to do what the Warriors did." That included drafting Draymond Green 35 th in 2012. The Warriors did pick Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the first round of the 2009 and 2011 drafts respectively. But Curry wasn't an NBA all-star until 2014 and Thompson, in 2015.

The Warriors, as it turns out, do not have any picks in tonight's draft. That doesn't mean they won't be active – at the right moment. Golden State still could buy a draft pick, which it did last year, getting the Warriors UNLV's Patrick McCaw. He got regular playing time in his first year, giving him the confidence to play effectively even in critical moments. He played 11 minutes in this month's title-clinching game and scored 6 points.

EverythingGolden State touches, it seems, turns to gold.

OK, almost everything. The Warriors drafted Ekpe Udoh with the 6 th pick in the 2010 draft. He's now playing in Turkey.

Still, Golden State mostly has made the right moves and made itself into a great team that was able to lure Kevin Durant last offseason – a super free-agent signing that turned the Warriors into a super team.

Tonight, the Philadelphia 76ers have the first draft pick – the first official counter move in this new NBA era of "Golden State vs. the World."

Philly, you're on the clock.

And so are 28 other NBA teams that will do what they can – draft, trade, buy, sell – to pull closer to the Warriors. Ever closer.

And the world will be better for this
That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To fight the unbeatable foe, to reach the unreachable star

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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