4. DaQuan Jeffries
Many of the players in consideration around the end of the first round are reasonably well known to college basketball fans, and many are from mainstream programs who made strong runs in the tournament. Various mock drafts have players from Virginia, Purdue, Auburn, Tennessee, Iowa State and Gonzaga in this range.
Yet one player who is flying under the radar and would be a shrewd pick for the Warriors at No. 28 is DaQuan Jeffries out of Tulsa. With Klay Thompson out for much of the season, the Warriors’ backcourt rotation projects to be Stephen Curry, Quinn Cook and Jacob Evans, pending reinforcements. While Evans was drafted with defensive upside in mind and Curry is a shrewd and underrated team defender, there is currently no guard who elevates the team on defense.
That’s where a player such as Jeffries could come in and give the Warriors a real boost. He is a defensive bulldog, with 215 pounds of muscle on his 6’5” frame. He has high-level defensive awareness on the court, with a 6’11” wingspan and quick anticipation. He was the vocal leader of the Tulsa defense as well, somewhat unusual from a guard.
Offensively he is a dependent player, not one to create much offense for himself or others. When deployed alongside other creators, his skill-set is perfect for such a roll, as Jeffries is a strong spot-up shooter with the right mechanics to one day shoot off movement. He is a willing screener, a huge benefit in a Warriors offense that has its guards screen frequently. Like Alfonzo McKinnie, he can crash the offensive glass and win.
Jeffries is not the fastest player and he needs to be in the right role, but his defensive upside is tremendous and he looks like the quintessential role player. The Warriors would be well served to go back to the mid-major well and take a look at Jeffries late in the first round.