Get to know the Dubs’ 2019 draft class.
When asked for his opinion on what the Warriors would be looking for come draft time, President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Bob Myers said on Wednesday that, “we’re going to need guys that can contribute and eat up minutes as much as they can” to balance the workload of Warriors veterans Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala who, “play a lot of basketball.”
With that direction in mind, the Dubs’ draft day yield included a player who’s no stranger to the big stage, a four-year polished collegiate athlete, and a young player who has demonstrated an array of talents when given minutes at the G League.
Now that the picks are in, get to know your newest Golden State Warriors:
Myers noted last Friday that when is comes to their late first-round pick, “I think you try to get a guy that will eventually be a rotation guy.” Poole can very well become that player if he continues the trend he began with the Michigan Wolverines. Initially a rotation player with a small role, who averaged 12.5 minutes his freshman year, clutch shots in the team’s postseason run gave John Beilein, Michigan’s head coach at the time, confidence in the young talent. Poole earned his way into playing over 33 minutes per game as a starting guard his sophomore year where he averaged 12.8 points and 1.1 steals in 37 games en route to a spot on the All-Big Ten Honorable Mention team.
According to his NBA.com Draft Profile, Poole is a natural scorer who “did his best work as a set shooter, but also showed the ability to create his own shot off the dribble flashing some versatility and natural talent as a shot-maker.” That is something that resonated with the Warriors scouts as Myers noted after the draft: “We like his playmaking. We like his shot-making, versatility, plays multiple positions… he’s a confident player.”
The Dubs’ 28th overall pick is not just a scorer, but a deep-three threat that could add to the Dubs’ well-known three-point artistry. Poole averaged 37 percent from beyond the arc his two years in college, including 2.0 treys made per game in his sophomore year. Beilein tweeted after the announcement of the selection that the Warriors will have a “’Poole Party’ with the Splash Brothers,” or perhaps a new “Splash Nephew” in the family.
Defensively, Poole has “nice instincts in the passing lanes and… had some strong moments defending opposing two-guards when dialed in,” according to his draft profile. But as that statement hints, he can develop further in certain areas as he is “not the most aggressive defender… [and shows] some room to improve chasing shooters off of screens away from the ball.”
If anyone is worried about how Poole may handle the pressure of playing for the Dubs, Beilein, now head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers, says he does not just handle the pressure, but in fact loves it: “The guy is an overdose of swag. He’s got everything you could ask for. He dreams of those (game-winning) shots. He lives for those shots. That’s what he loves.”
Dub Nation does like their clutch shooters. And for any fans that are worried about the Michigan rookie and Green, a Michigan State alum, getting along, Myers smiled and laughed as he said “Draymond said he likes him” Thursday after the draft.
Early on the morning of draft day, the Warriors made a deal to acquire the 41st pick from the Atlanta Hawks for a future second-round pick and cash considerations. That pick would eventually be used to select Eric Paschall, a forward with four years of experience in the NCAA.
Paschall started 27 games for Fordham in the Atlantic 10 Conference during the 2014-2015 season, then transferred to Villanova and red-shirted the following season. Over his three seasons with the Wildcats, his scoring improved each year and finished with 16.5 points in 36 minutes per game his final year with the team.
In a nutshell: he is physical, intense, and explosive.
His NBA.com Draft Profile notes he has an “impressive combination of power and coordination,” and he demonstrated the skills needed to space the floor and “[serve] as the team’s go-to scorer in spots creating his own shot from the perimeter.” Besides a big-bodied frame with tough, explosive movements around the bucket, Paschall also has good touch from beyond the arc: he finished with 1.9 treys made per game on 34.8 percent shooting from deep last season.
Scoring numbers aside, it is Paschall’s defense that may be the highlight of the Dubs’ second round pick. The clear go-to guy when Villanova needed an opposing player locked down, Villanova assistant coach Kyle Neptune said of Paschall: “Coach [Jay Wright] always [wanted] Eric to check the other team’s hot hand. It [didn’t] even matter what position it is.” According to his draft profile, Paschall is a “very capable, intense defender. Gets low and works hard giving him some versatility even if he isn’t overly quick on the perimeter or imposing as a rim protector. Communicates well and has strong fundamentals.”
The NBA Draft scouts and Warriors were not the only ones who have confidence in the Dubs’ second pick. NBA All-Star Donovan Mitchell and childhood friend called Paschall a sleeper “because he brings so much to a team that’s ready to play, like ready to compete now.”
Nicknamed “Smiley,” Alen Smailagic is young talent from Serbia with a potentially bright future ahead of him. He was the youngest player to ever play in the G League, having played the 2018-19 season with the Dubs’ affiliate: the Santa Cruz Warriors. His skills and hard work were impressive enough to warrant the Warriors pulling a draft night trade to acquire Smailagic, who was selected with the 39th pick by the New Orleans Pelicans.
Dub Nation may not know much about the young forward yet, but he had made his impact in Europe: while playing in the Serbian U19 League, Smailagic averaged 21.7 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. His performance was impressive enough to be selected by the Santa Cruz Warriors with the fourth overall pick in last year’s G League draft.
Having been with the Sea Dubs for the past season, the Warriors were able to get an extended look at the young prospect. “It’s rare to get that much opportunity to watch a guy play like we did with Alen… especially Kent Lacob having been around Alen most of the year.”
His averages may not jump off the page immediately, but he has shown flashes of brilliance in a league where the young man “did not look out of place against players often 5 or more years his senior,” according to his NBA.com Draft Profile.
Case in point: in just his second game as a G League rookie, Smailagic had himself a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double. Later in the season on December 7th, he posted a stat line that included 25 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocks.
During his Thursday night presser after the NBA Draft, Myers went out of his way to mention the character of players having importance for the Dubs, and that included Smailagic where they “[got] to know his work ethic a little bit better” in Santa Cruz.
“In a lot of these situations, you do bet on the player, but you also bet on the person, and having had the opportunity.. to watch him practice, watch him work, watch him grow — that stuff really matters,” Myers said. “He’s got good size, good feel, good confidence. All those factors, you combine them all, and I think it made us feel pretty good about that selection.”
Smailagic’s draft profile noted the rookie “[had] impressive coordination for his size and a nice combination of mobility and strength.”
When he played, Smailagic “displayed a fairly impressive skill level as a rookie in the G-League doing his best work as a finisher, but also showing some promise as a floor spacer — flashing the ability to handle the ball a bit, and making some crafty, tenacious plays on the low block.”
“I expect that they’ll be good people, work hard, and make us look good,” Myers said with a grin. “I hope they work hard, I hope they’re humble, I hope they fit into our culture… I hope they help us win some basketball games.”