OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob and new general manager Bob Myers had to take a red-eye flight to New York earlier this week to get a last-minute look at Harrison Barnes before the NBA draft.
Barnes is coming back to the West Coast now.
The Warriors selected the North Carolina small forward with the No. 7 overall pick Thursday night, giving the franchise a potent player at a position that desperately needs depth. Myers said as soon as Portland passed on Barnes at six, "My phone almost blew up with people wanting this pick and wanting this player."
"We're thrilled," Myers said. "He is one of the best people in this draft and one of the best players."
The 6-foot-8 sophomore led the Tar Heels with 17.1 points per game and also averaged 5.2 rebounds. Now 20 years old, he also was the Atlantic Coast Conference's Rookie of the Year in 2011.
Barnes shot 35.8 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore and earned First-Team All-ACC honors. He scored at least 20 points 13 times and in double figures in 64 of 75 college games.
There could be an immediate spot for Barnes in Golden State's rotation.
The Warriors finished 23-43 last season after injuries and trades overwhelmed the roster. The only starter whose future is uncertain is small forward Dorell Wright, who is heading into the final year of his contract and struggled in rookie coach Mark Jackson's system.
Expectations will be higher than they have been in years this fall. The Warriors, with only one playoff appearance since 1994, will finally have a starting lineup that has a legitimate chance to make the playoffs — if healthy.
Health, however, is a huge concern.
Andrew Bogut, the 2005 No. 1 overall pick and best center the franchise has had in at least a decade, fractured his left ankle Jan. 25 with Milwaukee and sat out the rest of the season when he was acquired in a trade for star guard Monta Ellis. Point guard Stephen Curry repeatedly sprained his surgically repaired right ankle last season while playing only 26 games. And power forward David Lee missed the final eight games, undergoing surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle.
All are expected back by training camp.
Drafting Barnes also was a turnaround from last season when the Warriors took Klay Thompson with the 11th overall pick, even though the team already had Ellis in the backcourt. Thompson, the former Washington State shooting guard, is expected to start next season after a standout rookie campaign.
Golden State also had the 30th, 35th and 52nd picks.
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No. 1 Anthony Davis, Kentucky: New Orleans Hornets
No. 2 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky: Charlotte Bobcats
No. 3 Bradley Beal, Florida: Washington Wizards
No. 4 Dion Waiters, Syracuse: Cleveland Cavaliers
No. 5 Thomas Robinson, Kansas: Sacramento Kings
No. 6 Damian Lillard, Weber State: Portland Trail Blazers
No. 7 Harrison Barnes, UNC: Golden State Warriors
No. 8 Terrence Ross, Washington: Toronto Raptors
No. 9 Andre Drummond, UConn: Detroit Pistons
No. 10 Austin Rivers, Duke: New Orleans Hornets
No. 11 Meyers Leonard, Illinois: Portland Trail Blazers
No. 12 Jeremy Lamb, UConn: Houston Rockets
No. 13 Kendall Marshall, UNC: Phoenix Suns
No. 14 John Henson, UNC: Milwaukee Bucks
No. 15 Moe Harkless, St. John's: Philadelphia 76ers
No. 16 Royce White, Iowa State: Houston Rockets
No. 17 Tyler Zeller, UNC: Cleveland Cavaliers
<a href="https://twitter.com/WojYahooNBA/status/218512366365704192" target="_hplink">ACQUIRED VIA TRADE WITH DALLAS</a>
No. 18 Terrence Jones, Kentucky: Houston Rockets
No. 19 Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure: Orlando Magic
No. 20 Evan Fournier, France: Denver Nuggets
No. 21 Jared Sullinger, Ohio State: Boston Celtics
No. 22 Fab Melo, Syracuse: Boston Celtics
No. 23 John Jenkins, Vanderbilt: Atlanta Hawks
No. 24 Jared Cunningham, Oregon State: Dallas Mavericks
ACQUIRED VIA TRADE WITH CLEVELAND
No. 25 Tony Wroten, Washington: Memphis Grizzlies
No. 26 Miles Plumlee, Duke: Indiana Pacers
No. 27 Arnett Moultrie, Miss. State: Philadelphia 76ers
ACQUIRED VIA TRADE WITH MIAMI
No. 28 Perry Jones III, Baylor: OKC Thunder
No. 29 Marquis Teague, Kentucky: Chicago Bulls
No. 30 Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt: Golden State Warriors