The Golden State Warriors were for once very active players in the NBA Draft, partly as a consequence to injuries to Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant in a heart-wrenching end to the postseason.
The Dubs traded for the Atlanta Hawks’ 41st overall selection hours prior to the draft and went into it with three selections to make, though many things changed throughout the course of the draft.
We’ll grade each of these three picks in the order they were selected:
28th pick: Jordan Poole (SG) Michigan — 6’5”- 195 lbs.
The Warriors used their 28th overall pick to address the immediate need of this roster — wing shooting.
Poole could be considered a bit of a reach based on the talent pool still available, but he makes an intriguing pick based off who no longer was available.
Golden State was going to get the best shooting talent available at No. 28 no matter what, the main issue hinger on other potential picks were selected right before, as Nassir Little dropped to the Portland Trail Blazers and Dylan Windler immediately after to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Warriors fans would have loved for Bol Bol to be the no-brainer pick here, as he was one potential lottery-bound talent that had slid down the board as puzzlingly as Little did — yet the team was determined to get a shooter in the first round.
Talent-wise, the picks that came right after Poole could have been better prospects: Keldon Johnson to San Antonio and Kevin Porter Jr. to Cleveland. Yet Johnson is still a streaky shooter and Porter has proven to be a willing, but very ineffective jump shooter who settles for contested looks.
Poole on the other hand, has shown to not be afraid of the moment and he’s showed it at the biggest stage, as he propelled his Michigan Wolverines over the Houston Cougars in the 2018 NCAA Tournament with a 3-pointer from NBA range.
Warriors fans, this is Jordan Poole pic.twitter.com/TiM8VhGGi2
— Chris Montano (@gswchris) June 21, 2019
The 20-year-old guard is only a 37% career shooter from deep, but he is a willing one and that is important. He’s proven to be a volume 3-point shooter during his time at Michigan (115-of-311), but it’s a lot easier to tame a wolf into a dog than to teach a dog to be a wolf.
Poole is that wolf.
While he has a natural feel for scoring the ball, the downside is that he’s been known to have a bit of tunnel vision at times — yet those are issues that can be corrected.
If the Warriors have learned anything form the Patrick McCaw and Jordan Bell picks from past years, they will need a player that is naturally aggressive and won’t need to be convinced to attack or create for himself.
Poole might not have been the most talented, but he was the best fit to address the Warriors’ immediate need, and he will come a lot cheaper than a veteran on a minimum contract.
39th pick: Alen Smailagić (PF) Serbia — 6’10”- 215 lbs.
The Warriors were hellbent on capitalizing on their own homegrown talent, so much so that they traded with the New Orleans Pelicans for the 39th overall pick.
Golden State has been developing Smailagić for a full season with their G-League affiliate Santa Cruz Warriors and he’s shown some fitting promise, prospecting as a pick-and-pop power forward that can finish with either hand.
While not as skilled handling the ball, he makes for a good David Lee comparison, as he has an affinity for crashing the offensive boards and exploiting team’s weaknesses with his nifty finishes around the basket and decent range from the perimeter.
Warriors draft pick Alen Smailagic drills the pick-and-pop 3-pointer pic.twitter.com/78XbIaaZWm
— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) June 21, 2019
Yet many questioned if the Warriors should have reached to get him. They traded for the 39th pick in fear that he would not be available with the 41st overall selection (via Hawks), yet the 18-year-old (youngest player in the G League last season) will likely have to go back to Santa Cruz for another year, likely unable to help this team through the course of the season.
The Warriors value their G League team, their players, and the way they’ve been groomed as a farm system, yet it’s too early to say whether Smailagić will be worth the gamble, especially during times of dire need.
41st pick: Eric Paschall (PF) Villanova — 6’8”- 254 lbs.
Likely the most NBA-ready pick of the three selected by the Warriors. Paschall has been often compared to Draymond Green due to his height as an undersized power forward and beefy build.
Yet it’s worth remembering that Green didn’t become that all-around player until his third season in the league, when he became a full-time starter under Steve Kerr.
Paschall is athletic, explosive, and a great finisher around the rim (68.2% at the rim in half-court settings). He’s a well-versed player, but not particularly great in any area.
He will need to carve his niche by picking a specialty and improving on it. Fine-tuning his 3-point shooting and making a name for himself on defense could help him flourish as a three-and-D stretch four, which could prove valuable in situations where Steve Kerr goes small and brings Green into the five.
Declaring after his senior year at Villanova, Paschall is the most experienced of the three picks and likely the most ready for minutes asset the Warriors secured in this draft.
Note: The Warriors possessed the 58th overall pick, but traded it to the Utah Jazz before selecting shooting guard Miye Oni.