It’s unusual for a dynasty team to select in the NBA Draft Lottery, but the Golden State Warriors could potentially land three picks in two seasons if things play out the right way. . The Warriors have been heavily impacted by injuries in recent years. While losing Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry last season hurt their chance of winning games, it did come with some benefits in the form of the No. 2 overall NBA Draft pick and a chance to draft James Wiseman. . Now, with Thompson sidelined again and the Warriors on the outer ring of the playoff picture, it’s entirely possible they secure another lottery pick this year. Add in the likelihood of Minnesota’s first round pick transferring to them in the top five and this could get interesting. . The Golden State Warriors could end the season with multiple NBA Draft Lottery picks if a few different things go their way. First, we have to discuss the pros and cons of missing the playoffs this year. It would be a shame to waste a season of Curry’s prime by being in the lottery again – and it would be even more detrimental to young players like Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre and Wiseman to not get any experience under their belts. . However, we have to be realistic in stating that the Dubs don’t have a very high ceiling. Even if Curry goes full superhero mode, it’s hard to see this team ending the year with a championship trophy. This begs the question, should they cut their losses and accept a lottery pick?. . I think this is a pretty good option. The 2021 NBA Draft is set to have multiple quality prospects fall deep into the lottery and with flattened odds anything is possible. Talented players like Duke’s versatile forward, Jalen Johnson, could fall into the Warriors’ hands. In contrast, if the Warriors’ pick falls past 20, they will transfer their rights to the Oklahoma City Thunder as their deal for Oubre constitutes. . Meanwhile, there remains a 50 percent chance the Warriors secure the fourth or fifth pick from Minnesota. So long as it doesn’t land in the top-three, the Wolves will cough up their pick to the Dubs. . This gives the Warriors two chances to draft franchise cornerstones this year. Plugging them next to Wiseman and seeing how far this hybrid team could go with stars like Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green would be a load of fun. . Of course, there is the problem of not having much playoff experience or experience in general with such a young nucleus. This would be the price to pay for the Warriors’ current stars who may not see the rewards of putting all of their chips into the draft until they are retired. . However, acquiring multiple draft picks also opens the door to trade possibilities. The front office could just as easily flip these picks for proven talent that can help the Warriors capitalize on their championship window before it’s too late. Either way you put it, landing two lottery picks seems to be the best route for this Dubs team. But, good luck convincing this team that missing the playoffs is the optimal goal. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Warriors continue to climb up the standings and secure a playoff berth.
The Miami Heat’s turnaround started a bit before their current seven-game road trip. . But heading into the trip finale against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night in Oklahoma City, Heat players, as well as head coach Erik Spoelstra, say the road journey has been a turning point. “When we’re at home we can’t really see each other,” Bam Adebayo said. “We’re in the hotel now, we’re traveling together on the plane, getting to talk to one another and really getting that cohesive brotherhood again that we had last year. It’s great for us and we just got to keep building from here. The Heat are 3-3 on the trip, including victories in their last two games. The trip is tied for the longest in franchise history. . Since starting 7-14, Miami is 6-3 to improve to 13-17. . And the Heat have done it while dealing with a variety of injuries. “I think, without a doubt, this is one of the best segments of the season for us,” Spoelstra said. “We’ve made big strides I think in the last eight, nine days of this trip and we’ve dealt with some adversity together. I think that’s always good for our group.”. While the Heat are still working through those injuries, the Thunder are starting to get healthy after a series of injuries that left Oklahoma City without an active point guard for several games. . Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is coming off the best of his three games since his return from missing four consecutive contests with a left knee sprain. . Gilgeous-Alexander scored 31 points and had nine assists in Sunday’s victory at Cleveland. . The return of Gilgeous-Alexander and backup point guard Theo Maledon, who has recently moved into the starting lineup alongside Gilgeous-Alexander, has helped the Thunder become more efficient. “Transition offense is the big weapon that we have with the guards that we have that are so aggressive getting downhill and putting pressure on,” center Mike Muscala said. “Then you’re getting free throws, which adds to that efficiency, and getting layups and dunks and then you’re getting 3-point shots.”. . Oklahoma City has averaged 25 free-throw attempts per game over their last four, nearly five per game better than its season average. . The Thunder are still trying to translate that aggressiveness into victories. Oklahoma City dropped six of its last eight. . In their first meeting between the teams, Jan. 4 at Miami, the Heat dominated in a 118-90 win with a balanced scoring effort. Adebayo had 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting. Oklahoma City shot just 36.7 percent from the field. . The Thunder’s bench, which scored 42 points in Sunday’s win, shot just 31.4 percent in the previous meeting. The Heat are likely to be without Goran Dragic once again, but the guard figures to return soon after missing the last eight games with a sprained left ankle. Dragic has played in just three games since Jan. 25. . Miami could be without Tyler Herro as well. . Herro is listed as questionable after not playing in the second half of Saturday’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers following a right hip contusion.