Warriors

Mannion flashes playmaking potential in Warriors' preseason

Warriors

The Warriors should be excited about their 2020 NBA Draft class.

While everyone is awaiting James Wiseman’s first game action, second-round pick Nico Mannion has shown great flashes of playmaking ability so far this preseason. Here's one example of him creating and dishing to an open teammate in transition.

Mannion's shot hasn't come along yet -- two points on 10 shots in 22 minutes isn’t great -- but a team-leading seven assists (tied with Steph Curry) in that span is certainly noteworthy. Mannion averaged 14 points per game and ranked second in the Pac-12 with 5.3 assists per contest in 2019-20. He showed the potential to be a scorer at the University of Arizona, but he also has the ability to slice the defense with his speed and get his teammates open shots.

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The Warriors signed 6-foot-2 Mannion to a two-way contract, meaning he can play in up to 50 NBA games this season. But Mannion faces an uphill climb to get much playing time in a backcourt that’s already stacked with role players.

Brad Wanamaker has solidified himself as Curry’s backup at point guard, while Jordan Poole and Damion Lee also are fighting for spots in coach Steve Kerr’s rotation. Recent reports suggest Mychal Mulder will claim the final 15-man roster spot, meaning Mannion likely will have to start the season with the Santa Cruz Warriors.

 
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The Warriors have had success with players on two-way contracts in recent years, including Quinn Cook in 2017 and Lee last season. Mannion likely will have to be patient in the G League and develop while awaiting any possible openings in the Warriors’ rotation this season. But his skill set and style of play should have Dubs fans stoked for the future.