OAKLAND – The Golden State Warriors added Mike Dunleavy, Jiri Welsch and Steve Logan to their impressive array of young talent on Wednesday.
Now if only the Warriors could decide who’s going to coach that talent.
For the second straight year, the Warriors left the NBA draft with three players to rebuild a franchise that’s been through three straight 60-loss seasons and a league-worst eight-year playoff drought.
Dunleavy, a 6-foot-9 forward considered one of the best shooters in college basketball last season at Duke, was the third overall pick.
Near the close of the first round, the Warriors acquired the rights to Czech swing guard Welsch, the 16th overall pick by Philadelphia who played in Slovenia last season. With the first pick of the second round, the Warriors chose Logan, a 5-foot-10 scorer from Cincinnati.
“Once again, I think we’ve helped our team a great deal,” Warriors general manager Garry St. Jean said. “We got three guys that interested us and that we think will make us better.”
The selection of Dunleavy was no surprise, because his decision to remain in the draft was predicated on his excitement about joining the Warriors. Dunleavy is expected to become Golden State’s starting small forward, with Antawn Jamison moving to power forward and Danny Fortson leaving town.
But the Warriors kept mum about the possibility that his father, Mike, will become the team’s new coach. Mike Dunleavy previously coached Portland, Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Lakers.
St. Jean again declined comment, saying the coaching search was “ongoing.” Interim coach Brian Winters still hasn’t been told whether he’ll be back next season.
The younger Mike Dunleavy told reporters that he understood his father was at least a part of a long list of candidates for the job, though he downplayed the notion.
“We’ll let the chips fall where they do,” he said. “Maybe I’m biased, but I think he does a great job. I know we’ll have a great coach in there no matter what happens.”
Dunleavy is the Warriors’ latest foundation player — another building block on which St. Jean will attempt to rebuild.
“I’ve known this young man since he was an infant, and I’ve watched him grow,” said St. Jean, who coached Dunleavy’s father in Milwaukee during the 1980s. “He has touch. He has feel, and a real court presence. He’s a great decision-maker, and he’s very versatile.”
Dunleavy’s arrival probably signals the departure of one previous building block. Fortson, the NBA’s fourth-leading rebounder last season, won’t be happy in a reserve role.
Dunleavy expected to return to school as recently as two weeks ago, but as his draft stock kept rising, Dunleavy leaned toward the NBA. St. Jean and Jamison apparently sold Dunleavy on the Warriors’ potential during a meeting earlier this month.
“I realized it was just too big of an opportunity to pass up,” Dunleavy said. “I was always high on the Warriors. It was a situation that I was really looking forward to. I kind of knew all along that No. 3 was where I was going.”
Dunleavy averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 rebounds last season for the Blue Devils. His outside shooting and basketball sense have been praised, but there were worries about his relatively slight build, which could hinder his defense.
Welsch is only 22, but he has played five professional seasons in Europe. A 6-foot-7 guard with strong ball-handling abilities and an impressive shooting touch — he shot 65 percent from the field last season.
Welsch could play three positions, and the Warriors won’t force him into one spot.
“He’s really one of the most promising guards in Europe,” assistant GM Gary Fitzsimmons said. “We were ecstatic to do a deal and have him be available at 16.”
In the deal, Golden State returned the first-round pick it got from Philadelphia last season in a trade that sent Vonteego Cummings to the Sixers. Unless Golden State finishes with one of the NBA’s top three records next season, Philadelphia also will get the Warriors’ second-round pick in 2004.
Logan will face tough competition for a roster spot in the Warriors’ summer programs, but the first-team All-American hasn’t failed much in his career. A four-year starter for the Bearcats, he averaged 22 points and 5.3 assists in his senior season.