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Warriors draft Longmont High grad Justinian Jessup in second round of NBA draft

Mannion can compete for a roster spot right away, while Jessup is a draft-and-stash candidate.

Justinian Jessup of Boise State shoots the basketball during a 2019-20 game against San Diego State University. (Photo courtesy Boise State athletics)
Justinian Jessup of Boise State shoots the basketball during a 2019-20 game against San Diego State University. (Photo courtesy Boise State athletics)

For the second straight year the Warriors made a pair of draft picks in the second round, one who can be an immediate contributor and another long-term project.

The Warriors selected Nico Mannion with the No. 48 pick and Justinian Jessup with the No. 51 pick in Wednesday night’s draft.

Mannion, a 6-foot-3, 190 pound guard who spent his early childhood in Italy before going to high school in Phoenix, averaged 14 points and 5.3 assists as a freshman at Arizona.

A five-star recruit who ranked No. 9 on ESPN’s top 100 recruiting rankings of the 2019 class, Mannion was considered a likely lottery pick a year ago. One of the best passers in his class, he can thrive in Golden State’s motion offense even if his lack of size and athleticism limits his upside.

He should compete with Ky Bowman and Mychal Mulder for a roster spot when training camp starts in early December.

Jessup, a 6-foot-7, 202 pound wing from Colorado, averaged 16 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists last season as a senior at Boise State. Having already signed a deal with the Illawarra Hawks of the NBL, he won’t likely be able to play for the Warriors until after the 2020-21 season. He won’t occupy a roster spot while playing in the NBL.

However, Jessup offers potential as a floor spacer and defender. During his four years at Boise State, he made 40.8% of his 797 3-point attempts and regularly guarded the opponent’s top scorer last season.

There are shades of what the Warriors did last year, when they drafted Eric Paschall, an NBA-ready forward, and Alen Smailagic, a long-term project with a modern skillset, in the second round. Paschall carved out a role in Golden State’s rotation and earned a spot on the All-Rookie first team, while Smailagic spent most of the season developing away from the team in the G League. Getting similar results from this pair would bolster Golden State’s depth.

Earlier Wednesday, the Warriors selected center James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick in the draft.

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