Warriors

Kerr provides detailed vision for Smailagic's role on Warriors

Warriors

One name we didn't hear much at all over the Warriors' recently-concluded minicamp was Alen Smailagic.

The No. 39 overall pick from the 2019 draft -- who turned 20 years old in August -- appeared in 14 games as a rookie.

Does Steve Kerr have a firm handle on what Smailagic's role will be moving forward?

"I think Smiley pretty much has to be a five," Golden State's coach said Wednesday on "The TK Show" podcast with The Athletic's Tim Kawakami. "He's a pretty big guy, he shoots the 3 well, he's skilled.

"But he's not a player you're gonna say, 'OK, he's really versatile defensively and we can have him guard multiple positions.' I don't look at him as that.

"I look at him more as a face-up five. I think that's gonna be his role ultimately in the NBA."

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The Serbian native shot over 38 percent from 3-point territory over his first 15 G League games last season with the Santa Cruz Warriors. He went 5-for-7 and 5-for-9 from deep in back-to-back games in mid-December.

"He's still so young, and he's really learning," Kerr said. "He's the kind of player you want to have out there as far as pick-and-pop, and take the opposing center away from the paint to open up driving lanes for everybody else."

 
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Smailagic went 3-for-13 from beyond the arc in a Golden State uniform in 2019-20. But the expectation is that he will take and make more 3s in 2020-21.

He is far from a finished product, but the franchise believes in his potential.

"We're really excited about what Smiley could become," executive vice president of basketball operations Kirk Lacob told NBC Sports Bay Area in August. "Love the guy. He has a lot of work to do. He was a second-round pick. He has gotta fight and claw.

"If he's good enough, he's gonna show through and he'll figure it out."

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