When the Warriors sent Nico Mannion to the G League, the primary goal for the 19-year-old was to work on his shooting. The University of Arizona product showed flashes in his scattered playing time for Golden State, but made just 3-of-13 total field goals in 36 NBA minutes.
It only has been two games, but it appears Mannion is stepping up to the challenge.
In the Santa Cruz Warriors' 103-92 loss to the Delaware Blue Coats, Mannion put up 22 points in 36 minutes on 8-of-17 shooting and 3-of-12 from deep.
He also threw down a thunderous dunk in the fourth quarter.
Mannion added nine rebounds and six assists, falling a board short of a double-double while showcasing his dynamic playmaking ability that ultimately led to his selection as the No. 48 overall pick.
However, Mannion is still experiencing a fair share of growing pains, which is to be expected given his lack of professional experience. The guard committed eight turnovers and finished with a ghastly minus-18.
For the second consecutive game, Mannion's long-range percentage was alarming, but in reality, he's doing exactly what Kerr asked when sending him down.
“Nico has shown me he belongs on an NBA court,” Kerr said to reporters in January. “That guy can pass and he can defend. Now we need him to shoot with volume in Orlando. I want him to shoot 12-15 shots a game. I want him to let it fly because that's going to be the next step for him at this level.”
With two G League games under his belt, Mannion already has shown plenty of promise in Orlando, and his continued play in the bubble should only help.
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In other Warriors action, Jordan Poole followed up his 22-point performance in Wednesday's opener with 19 points over a game-high 40 minutes. Jeremy Lin scored just seven points on 3-of-10 shooting but dished out seven assists.
Both Mannion and Poole will need to play well in the bubble to solidify their status as a part of Kerr's future. Lin, who is working to make a return to the NBA, likely will need to dazzle the Warriors if he wants to land a spot on Golden State's roster.
Santa Cruz will have a quick chance for a bounce-back win, as the Warriors are scheduled to play the Westchester Knicks on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. PST.