Warriors

Poole, Smailagic joining Mannion in upcoming G League bubble

Warriors

Jordan Poole and Alen Smailagic will join Nico Mannion when the Santa Cruz Warriors play in the upcoming G League bubble in Orlando, Fla., Warriors coach Steve Kerr announced Monday.

Kerr said the plan is for Poole, Smailagic, and Mannion to play "as many games as possible" for Santa Cruz during the G League's 12-to-15-game schedule over about "four or five weeks." The trio will depart Sunday.

"Hopefully we stay healthy during that time so those guys get as much experience as they can," Kerr said in a pregame press conference prior to tipoff between the Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves. "They all need to play."

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Poole, the Warriors' first-round pick in 2019, has averaged a shade over 10 minutes in 11 games off Golden State's bench this season. Mychal Mulder, himself a three-year veteran of the G League, will take Poole's minutes in the Warriors' rotation.

Smailagic, a 2019 second-round pick, is yet to play this season and underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus earlier this month. He is just now able to return to the practice court, according to Kerr.

The Warriors drafted Mannion in the second round last November, signing him to a two-way contract with the expectation he would spend time in the G League. Mannion had appeared in just three NBA games for the Warriors entering Monday.

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Kerr believes their stint with Santa Cruz could prove "very productive."

"He recognizes the importance of playing big minutes," Kerr said of Poole. "Nico does, too. Everybody would rather play in the NBA than the G League, but you have to point out the number of players that have gone to the G League, and come back and been successful in the NBA. It's a really impressive list, and that's the way we look at it.

 

"It's really a great opportunity for young guys who don't get to play a lot. They should absolutely be looking forward to it."