Warriors: Grading 2019 NBA Draft class’ rookie seasons

Warriors, Eric Paschall (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Warriors, Eric Paschall (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Warriors (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

2. Alen Smailagic — Incomplete

With the 39th overall pick, the New Orleans Pelicans selected power forward Alen Smailagic out of Serbia. Though, his tenure with the Pelicans was short-lived as he was traded on draft night to the Warriors for a pair of second-round picks and cash.

Clearly, the Warriors felt strongly enough to relinquish two future second-rounders to acquire the Serbian native, especially at a time when the team was thin on future draft capital.

In a sense, the 6-foot-10 forward was a draft-and-stash prospect. At just 19 years of age, Smailagic was by far the rawest prospect the Warriors picked up on draft night.

With that being said, the power forward spent the bulk of his time with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the G-League.

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With Santa Cruz, the 39th overall pick recorded 15.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.4 APG while shooting 51 percent from the field in 19 G League games.

His performance was enough to earn a call-up to the Golden State Warriors. He saw just 14 NBA games during the 2019-2020 season, so it was enough to get his feet wet, but not enough exposure to get a true evaluation of how his skill set might play.

I will note that Smailagic’s NBA debut excited the Warriors fan base in a way that few other second-rounders had previously.

Across 14 games, the power forward posted 4.2 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 0.9 APG while shooting an even 50 percent from the field. He only saw a shade under 10 minutes per game, so he never really got extended game action.

In his brief NBA tenure, Smailagic showed off a unique mix of size and athleticism.

Still, there was not enough of a sample to get an evaluation on the 19-year-old. There is intriguing raw talent, and hopefully, the Warriors see some more of refined talent from him at Chase Center next season.