OAKLAND — When the Warriors traded up to acquire the No. 41 overall pick, it was widely speculated that the move was made in hopes of selecting a Serbian prospect out of their G League affiliate team, the Santa Cruz Warriors.
But clearly, that wasn’t enough.
Moving up once more by trading two future second-round picks, the Warriors acquired the draft rights to Alen Smailagic, a 6-foot-10 forward who was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans with the 39th overall pick in the NBA Draft.
As one of the youngest prospects in the draft, Smailagic is just 18 years old after playing a full season in Santa Cruz under head coach Aaron Miles.
Before coming to the United States, Smailagic played for the Serbian under-16 national team in 2016 where he averaged five points in 15 minutes per game. Showing potential of becoming an NBA talent, he was drafted fourth overall by the South Bay Lakers in the G-League draft.
Subsequently, Santa Cruz traded for the rights to Smailagic, landing him on their roster for the following season and in 47 games, the Serb impressed.
In 17.4 minutes per game off of the bench, Smailagic averaged 9.1 points, four rebounds and one assist per game.
Smailagic offers a skill set the Warriors could undoubtedly use as he can stretch the floor with his 3-point shooting ability as he’s proven that he can knock down the open 3 on the wing.
Another aspect of his game that the Warriors will appreciate is his offensive rebounding skills. In 2018-19, nearly half of Smailagic’s rebounds came on the offensive glass, often leading to put-back attempts at point-blank range.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Smailagic was a talent that the Warriors hoped to keep under wraps from the rest of the NBA but as it was seen, this was not a success. In moving up for the second time, though, the Warriors did succeed in landing their man.