Once a projected lottery pick, Nico Mannion had to wait until the second round to hear his name get called in the 2020 NBA Draft.
The end result: going 48th overall to the Golden State Warriors, where he will be coached by fellow former Arizona Wildcat Steve Kerr.
Mannion’s stock fell, in part, due to an unspectacular season (relatively speaking) at Arizona.
The former McDonald’s All-American averaged 14.0 points, 5.3 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game—good counting numbers—but shot just 39 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from 3, even though his outside shot was one of his best attributes during his prolific high school and AAU career.
If Mannion can recapture his jumper, he does have considerable upside at the next level. At 6-foot-3, he has good size for his position and is a creative distributor, particularly in transition. A big question mark is whether or not he has enough length and athleticism to consistently defend NBA players or consistently beat them off the dribble.
Mannion could benefit from not having such a high usage rate. He was Arizona’s lone lead guard, meaning he was responsible for creating not only his own shots but his teammates’ as well. A tough role for a true freshman.
He’ll now play in a Warriors’ system that is predicated on ball movement, which could help him find his groove offensively.
Mannion has a chance to earn immediate playing time now that Klay Thompson could be out for the season with an Achilles injury.
Mannion’s father, Pace, also started his NBA career with the Warriors, getting selected by them with the 43rd overall pick of the 1983 draft.