With the No. 39 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select ...
... Alen Smailagic, from Serbia.
When New Orleans was on the clock at No. 39, the Warriors traded up to take him.
Earlier on Thursday, the Warriors bought a second-round pick -- No. 41 overall -- from the Hawks.
After ESPN's Adrian Wojarnowski broke the news of the trade, ESPN NBA Draft analyst and reporter, Jonathan Givony, tweeted:
Question many around the NBA are asking: how high will Golden State take Santa Cruz Warrior Alen Smailagic? Smailagic was shut down early in process and hidden in Serbia from the rest of the NBA. There was talk the Clippers might take him at 48. Did GS just move in front of them? https://t.co/0HJw1ZUOp0— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 20, 2019
So who is Alen Smailagic? He's a 6'10" big man who spent the 2018-19 season with Golden State's G League affiliate in Santa Cruz.
He doesn't turn 19 years old until Aug. 18, and was the youngest player in G League history. How did he end up in Santa Cruz? Well, the Sea Dubs traded up with the South Bay Lakers to acquire the rights to Smailagic -- the No. 4 overall pick in the G League draft back in October.
As Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle wrote in late March:
Two years ago, while on a scouting trip to Serbia, Santa Cruz general manager Kent Lacob watched Smailagic — then 16 — work out at a small gym in Belgrade. Smailagic expressed interest in pursuing a pro career stateside, but he was far from an NBA prospect.
Over his first 41 appearances in Santa Cruz, the 6'10" big man averaged 8.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks.
He broke out over the final six games of the regular season, averaging 14.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.2 blocks on 54 percent shooting overall.
The Warriors invested in Smailagic and it paid off in the end.