After the Golden State Warriors confirmed their 20 man training camp roster, competition for a roster spot will be fierce. However, one thing is for certain Alen Smailgacic isn’t going anywhere.
Alen Smailagic was drafted in the second round of the 2019 draft with many in the organization viewing the Serbian as a long-term project. As a result, Smailagic is again unlikely to play a role this season, and a number of people have questioned as to whether that is limiting the Golden State Warriors‘ options this coming season.
With Klay Thompson guaranteed to miss the entire season, the Warriors will, in essence, be running with a 14 man roster this season, Smailagic limited involvement will mean that the Dubs will be down to just 13 players for most of the season.
Despite this Smailagic isn’t going anywhere.
The Dubs handed the Serbian a four-year minimum deal, the final two of those non-guaranteed. The first season didn’t matter as the Warriors decided to forego the season for development following Steph Curry’s injury.
However, this season is different as the Warriors hope to be competing and Smailagic is unlikely to play in a winning rotation this season. Although the chance the Serbian isn’t on the roster is slim.
In theory, Golden State could cut Smailagić, eat the $1.5 million (plus taxes) and give that roster spot to a veteran who is able to come in and contribute to a winning team. It is a possibility, but something that is very unlikely with the Warriors known to be very high on the young big and are intrigued by his ceiling.
In addition, considering the Warriors to great lengths to ensure they could stash Smailagic in the G-League for a year, and then traded two future second round picks to keep him in the program just a year ago. It is highly unlikely the Dubs will end the project after just a year.
Unfortunately, Smailagic isn’t ready yet to play a role. He is the second tallest player on the roster behind Wiseman and is arguably the Warriors’ best shooting big. However, it is evident he’s not yet mentally or physically ready for the NBA. If the situation surrounding the G-League wasn’t uncertain, he’d likely spend the season there.
Nevertheless, after Thompson tore his Achilles tendon, Golden State might want more production from the back end of the roster. Smailagic may need to impress in training camp in order to earn minutes in the Warriors rotation.
While with the likes of Juan Toscano and Mychal Mulder breathing down Smailagic neck the Warriors might want to ensure that each player on a guaranteed contract can contribute meaningful minutes and can provide energy in short bursts.
Regardless of Smailagic’ss status as a project may ensure he remains in Golden State for the long haul.