Warriors’ Nico Mannion has sky-high potential for second-round pick

The Golden State Warriors drafted point guard Nico Mannion from Arizona in the second round, and it could further prove their dominance late in the draft.

Coming into the 2020 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors had two second-round picks.

Their first of two picks was Nico Mannion, a point guard from the University of Arizona. The second was Justinian Jessup from Boise State. Jessup is expected to a draft-and-stash prospect for Golden State.

As for Mannion, he’s already signed a two-way contract for the team. The Warriors, who had little options and were forced to toss Jordan Poole to the dogs last season to start his career, will likely opt to allow Mannion some time to develop in the G-League.

Mannion didn’t have a great career at Arizona, but he was one of the most highly-touted recruits coming out of high school. All Mannion needs to take his game to the next level is NBA-caliber development.

At Arizona, he averaged 14.0 points, 5.3 assists, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.2 steals in 32.3 minutes over 32 games in his lone collegiate season. The 6-foot-3 guard was part of the All-Pac-12 Second Team in addition to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.

But, can that talent translate to the NBA?

“He does need to fill out more physically and gain more strength if he hopes to compete in a physical  NBA. Also, he needs to do a better job in creating more ISO situations and creating separation. He was able to get away with it in high school, but once he got to college and started playing more athletic and stronger guards, he struggled at times,” Eric Townsend of Zona Zealots told me.

Mannion was a top-ten recruit out of college, and he was considered the No. 1 overall combo guard.

His play at Arizona was far from what many thought it would be, but the potential is still there. Cole Anthony, who was a first-round pick, was another top-tier recruit that didn’t have his potential flourish at the collegiate level.

At just 180 pounds, Mannion does need to put on some size, but given his shooting and ability to get to the rim, he should be able to at least get some capable second unit minutes with the Warriors.

The Warriors were looking for a backup point guard throughout the offseason, and they added Brad Wanamaker. Mannion, if he shows development early, could take over that position and become a No. 2 point guard on a championship-contending team.

That’s his peak for this season, one that’s better than the bulk of second-round picks.