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Golden State Warriors guard Charles Jenkins (22) attempts to drive past Utah Jazz point guard Devin Harris (5) and Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 6, 2012, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Colin E Braley)

The 2012 NBA draft is widely considered the deepest in many years, and after so carefully and finely positioning themselves to exploit it, the Warriors now find their interests in peril.

The next four days feature the team's final two games, which might only matter if they lose both, and two unanticipated surgeries that could provide insight to their future.

Thus the Warriors are in the situation most often applied to them, holding their breath while squinting directly into the possibility of catastrophe.

That doesn't mean it is inevitable.

Indeed, the very player who led the comeback victory Sunday that might have blown the Warriors' spot in the draft lottery is doing his part to diminish its significance.

The most direct route to taking the sting out of missing the lottery would be seeing Charles Jenkins evolve into a starting-caliber point guard, and he might. There is every reason to believe the Warriors are going to need the rookie second-round pick from New York City by way of Hofstra University.

They might need him more than anyone in this draft not named Anthony Davis, the Kentucky big man who is the consensus No. 1 pick.

With Stephen Curry's right ankle showing no sign of becoming reliable -- another surgery, this one "exploratory," is scheduled for Wednesday -- the Warriors' need for a productive Jenkins might be no less crucial than their desire to chase another 20-year-old swingman.

Even if the Warriors could add a Harrison Barnes or a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for next season, how far are they going if Curry misses 50 games?

Look, I understand the appeal of the draft. It's a time of hope for fans and franchises, an opportunity to dream. The top of the draft is the safest route to a player who can alter the franchise. The Warriors undoubtedly would be better off in the lottery than out, especially now that they are influenced by the discerning eye of Jerry West.

But Davis is the only player in this draft who looks as if he could be a cornerstone, and the odds of getting the first overall pick are slim even if the Warriors get back into the top seven.

Behind Davis, there is some talent, plenty of depth and a lot of reasons why this lottery is no panacea for the Warriors. Who besides Davis would make them appreciably better?

If you remember the last UConn center taken in the lottery, Hasheem Thabeet, you don't dare fall in love with the next, 6-foot-10 Andre Drummond.

Power forwards Thomas Robinson, Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones III are lottery picks at the same position where the Warriors are financially -- and seemingly matrimonially -- committed to David Lee.

Shooting guards Austin Rivers, Bradley Beal and Jeremy Lamb are lottery picks -- at the same position where the Warriors have committed to Klay Thompson, selected by West as a lottery pick in the 2011 draft.

Barnes and Kidd-Gilchrist should be the first wings taken, and either might -- might -- help a Warriors team that has Dorell Wright under contract but might be forced to choose between Dominic McGuire and Brandon Rush, each of whom made himself valuable.

That brings us to the point guards. Marquis Teague is good, Damian Lillard is better and Kendall Marshall, a borderline lottery pick, is the best of the bunch. There is no Derrick Rose, no Kyrie Irving and no John Wall -- no elite point guard who immediately would pose a threat to Curry.

And maybe not Jenkins, either. Playing 48 minutes and getting 24 points, nine assists and six rebounds, he was the driving force behind the 93-88 victory over Minnesota on Sunday that threatens to keep the Warriors out of the lottery.

Granted, the Timberwolves are certifiably awful without Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. But Jenkins has burned enough opponents to show he belongs. If Andre Miller can play 12 seasons in the NBA and Raymond Felton six, Jenkins will make millions.

Our experience with Jeremy Lin, the man Jenkins essentially replaced, surely taught us that a guy like Jenkins can be a valuable member of a quality team.

By making himself relevant, Jenkins vastly exceeded expectations. Look around. Do you really prefer Ramon Sessions (Lakers) or Mario Chalmers (Heat) or Devin Harris (Jazz)?

Yes, it seems the Warriors enter the final days of the season on a raft of bad news, from the potentially Pyrrhic victory at Minny to the Curry surgery to center Andrew Bogut's "clean-up" ankle procedure scheduled for Friday.

But Jenkins is making a bid to lessen the blow should the Warriors fail to enter the lottery.

If they can recover the pick, whomever they choose is a bonus.

But anytime a second-round pick earns playing time, as Jenkins has, it is a bonus.

Contact Monte Poole at mpoole@bayareanewsgroup.com.