Get to Know the Dubs’ 2020 NBA Draft Picks
Learn More About Draftees James Wiseman, Nico Mannion and Justinian Jessup
The 2020-21 NBA season is just a few short weeks away, and a major milestone toward that was reached on Wednesday with the 2020 NBA Draft, during which the Warriors added three players to their roster. Welcome to the squad James Wiseman (2nd overall pick), Nico Mannion (48th) and Justinian Jessup (51st)!
Welcome the Newest Warriors to Dub Nation!
Want to get to know the newest additions to Dub Nation? Take a look below for insights into who these three Warriors are and what they could potentially bring to the hardwood.
With the second overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, the Warriors selected 19-year-old center James Wiseman from the University of Memphis.
The young seven-foot-one-inch player ran into NCAA qualification issues after just three collegiate games, but the conflict did not add a blemish to his already-established reputation he had garnered through high school.
Wiseman moved from his hometown of Nashville to Memphis prior to his junior year of high school where he would play under coach Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway at East High School and in AAU competition. Under Hardaway’s tutelage Wiseman became a McDonald’s All-American, Tennessee Mr. Basketball, Gatorade National Player of the Year, and Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year, all of which were awarded to him his senior year in 2019. Wiseman would then follow Hardaway to the University of Memphis after the former NBA star accepted the position of head coach.
Wiseman averaged a double-double with 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds, while also logging 3.0 blocks per game across his collegiate career. Though he appeared in just three games, "it was clear that he’s different than just about everyone else,” wrote Jeff Goodman with Stadium.
And if “Penny Hardaway” name rings a bell to Dub Nation, it is because Hardaway himself tipped off a 14-season NBA career as the third overall pick of the 1993 NBA Draft by the Warriors, although he was traded to Orlando moments after and teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal. Wiseman has crossed paths with Stephen Curry at one of his camps, too.
If that is not enough Warriors-centric ties, Wiseman had one more tip-of-the-cap to the team and Dubs legendary Tim Hardaway. When asked during an NBA TV segment who had the best move in the NBA, the 19-year-old praised the former Dub and his “killer crossover.”
You may not expect to see a seven-foot-tall player cross-up his defenders, but when asked if he practices Hardaway’s signature move, Wiseman exclaimed: “Oh I work on it, most definitely.”
According to his NBA.com Draft Profile, Wiseman enters the NBA as “one of the most physically gifted center prospects in recent history.”
“Possessing an impressive combination of size and mobility, Wiseman runs the floor exceptionally well,” it continues. “With a 9-foot-6 standing reach, his dimensions are a factor… He elevates well for blocks with room to gather and his sheer reach is frequently a factor on the defensive glass.”
On offense, “Wiseman did the majority of his scoring inside providing a big target off the ball, creating some touches for himself crashing the glass, and drawing free throws at a remarkable rate.”
Though he has the potential on both sides of the ball and comes to the Warriors with an impressive resume, Wiseman now faces the challenge of putting it all together at the NBA level. “No 19-year-old I think figures it out right away,” said President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Bob Myers Wednesday night after the draft, “but I think he's got a willingness and an effort he's going to learn.”
“He’s kind of the Warrior-type of character we look for,” said the General Manager.
Niccolò “Nico” Mannion
And the connections between the Warriors and their draft picks continued through the 48th overall pick when they selected Arizona guard Niccolò “Nico” Mannion. Just like Wiseman who was selected in the first round, the Dubs’ 48th overall pick came from a certain Warrior’s camp.
Mannion comes to the Warriors with a unique blend of both NCAA and international experience. Having been born in Siena, Italy, he has qualified and played for the Italian national teams; at the 2017 FIBA U16 European Championship, Mannion averaged 19.9 points and 4 assists per game while representing his native country. He was considered a five-star recruit and a top-15 prospect through his senior year of high school, earning invites to both the McDonald’s All-American game and Nike Hoop Summit.
Mannion played just one year at Arizona, but let his presence be known in that time. He averaged 14.0 points including shooting 32.7 percent from three-point distance, 2.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Mannion’s effort earned him All-Pac-12 Second Team as well as Pac-12 All Freshman team honors.
Mannion is already acquainted with the hardwood at Chase Center too. He played with the Arizona Wildcats in the Al Attles Classic, a college basketball showcase put on by The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, at Chase Center in December, 2019. Manion posted 19 points, one rebound, three assists and three steals in the innaugural event.
Though Nico has already played at the Dub’s home in Chase Center, he is not the first of the Mannion family to play with the Warriors. His father, Pace, was selected by Golden State 43rd overall in the 1983 draft! Pace enjoyed a six-season career in the NBA and followed with a decade hooping in Italy.
“When I heard that I got the call and had found out I was getting drafted by Golden State, it was just a rush of emotions because my father was also drafted by Golden State,” said Nico on draft night. “Yeah, it’s unexplainable. It’s a blessing come true.”
Also seeing Mannion coming to the Warriors as serendipitous was Bob Myers. When asked if he was surprised Mannion fell to the team at No. 48 in his post-draft press conference, the Dubs’ General Manager said: “A little bit… we had him higher than 48 for sure.”
According to his NBA.com Draft Profile, Mannion “is a talented all-around guard whose vision, promising shot-making ability, and strong feel for the game allowed him to make an instant impact” when he stepped on the court.
"An instinctual playmaker who operated extensively out of the pick and roll as a freshman,” the profile continues, “Mannion makes shots from all three levels, has excellent footwork, delivers some creative passes on the move, and limits his mistakes off the dribble.”
Mannion did struggle putting up points in some games, “scoring more easily some nights than others,“ as his profile says. But the new Warrior is not worried, saying: “I get to learn from Steph.”
“I get someone I can really learn from,” he continued, “I’m just going to be like a sponge, try to soak up as much information from him as I can.”
Guard Justinian Jessup, the 51st selection of the draft, will be in a slightly different position from his classmates of this draft. In fact, he will be in a different country all together.
Jessup will play professionally in Australia next season having signed a "Next Stars" contract, which maintained his eligibility for the 2020 draft, with the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian National Basketball League (NBL). The Warriors retain his rights when he chooses to play in the NBA.
Jessup is coming off of his best season with Boise State where he played all four years of his NCAA eligibility. He averaged 16.0 points, 39.7 percent from three-point distance, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.5 blocks through the 2019-20 season, placing him in top-three of each statistical category on the team. He was named to the 2020 All-Mountain West Second Team and ended his career as the Mountain West and Boise State career leader in three-pointers made with 325 made, surpassing the conference record previously set by NBA veteran Jimmer Fredette (BYU, 296).
The shooting guard found success at the high school level, too. According to his NBA.com Draft Profile, as a junior “he led the basketball team in every key statistic when he averaged 17.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3.2 steals per contest,” taking his team to the Colorado high school title game.
For his efforts “he was named the 2015 Colorado 4A Player of the Year, Northern League Athlete of the Year, and was selected to the all-state first team,” per Jessup’s profile. He then went on top be the eighth-ranked high school prospect in Colorado following his senior year.
Making it to pro basketball is exciting enough, but for Jessup draft night was even more of an emotional roller coaster as he could not even watch the event.
“I don’t even know what to say, I’m still kind of trembling from excitement,” Jessup said in an interview with the Idaho Press. “I was trying to watch the draft earlier when it first started but I couldn’t get the live stream to work so I was just sitting on my couch looking at my phone and my agent texted me and said you got drafted.”
“I was like are you serious?” Jessup continued. “And when he said the Warriors, my heart just stopped for like 20 seconds. I couldn’t believe it to be honest with you.”
There you have it Dub Nation, these are your newest members of the squad. Get to know them quick, because the NBA season is right around the corner with tipoff set for Dec. 22.
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