Justinian Jessup is entering his second season with the Illawarra Hawks of Australia's NBL, but the Warriors certainly haven't forgotten about their former second-round draft pick.
"I've had good chats with Kent Lacob from the Golden State Warriors," Hawks president Dorry Kordahi recently said to SEN's Jimmy Smith. "They've been working closely with him through Summer League back in the NBA. They'll be down here probably this year keeping a close eye on Jessup as well."
The Warriors selected Jessup with the No. 51 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The former Boise State product had already signed a two-year NBL Next Stars contract with Illawarra, and the plan has been Jessup would see consistent playing time in Australia before joining Golden State. So far, so good.
As a rookie in the NBL, Jessup averaged 13.2 points over 38 games. He was up for the league's Rookie of the Year award, losing out to eventual first-round pick Josh Giddey. In the Hawks' first preseason game this year, Jessup showed exactly why the Warriors are high on him as someone who could be a contributor in the NBA.
The left-handed sharpshooter put up 27 points and went 7-for-9 from 3-point range.
This past season, Jessup shot 34.3 percent from long distance. That will be his calling card if he one day helps the Warriors, as he shot 47.4 percent from deep in college.
Kordahi admitted that Jessup struggled down the stretch a bit to find open shots as teams keyed on him. However, as he continues to develop, the Hawks' president wouldn't be surprised if Jessup was wearing a Warriors jersey soon, perhaps even later this season.
"It wouldn't surprise me if he has another breakout year this year and gets called up to the Warriors team end of the season," Kordahi said.