The Golden State Warriors have made a clear emphasis of prioritizing their style of basketball this offseason, adding veterans Chris Paul, Dario Saric and Cory Joseph who each possess the key elements — IQ, passing and quick decision-making — that are pivotal in a Steve Kerr-led system.
But that emphasis wasn’t just held for their trade and free agency acquisitions, with the Warriors also using that to evaluate talent at the NBA Draft in June. As a result they brought in two players they hope fit the Golden State mould — 19th overall pick Brandin Podziemski and 57th pick Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Trayce Jackson-Davis could emerge as a potential center option for the Golden State Warriors as soon as this season.
While Podziemski may be the higher upside talent in the long-term, the 23-year-old Jackson-Davis could be more impactful in the short-term given his four years of college experience at Indiana.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr raved about Jackson-Davis’ game and how his 6’10”, 245 lb frame could fit into the team dynamic.
"“What I like about Trayce: He plays how we like to play. He’s a good passer — a dribble hand-off guy at the top of the key, a good screener”, Kerr said. “(He) gives us a lob threat that we don’t otherwise have, which is a really nice addition. I think he’s the kind of guy who feels the game well. He’s got a good feel for passing, cutting movement, and a lot of the stuff that we already run, he runs really well”."
Briefly grounded by a slight hamstring injury post-draft, Jackson-Davis was limited to just the final two games at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. The athletic big man hardly missed a beat though, averaging 16 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in his 22.3 minutes per game.
Having acquired him in a trade that saw Patrick Baldwin Jr. move to the Washington Wizards, Jackson-Davis was seen as one of the steals of the Draft after an impressive senior year where he averaged 20.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and four assists.
On a recent episode of The Athletic NBA Show, Warrior General Manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. hinted that the franchise has shied away from adding a veteran center because “we have five guys who can give us minutes at the five position”.
Dunleavy and Golden State’s contentment with their big man rotation clearly showcases some faith in Jackson-Davis, with Kerr’s comments only adding to the excitement surrounding the second-round pick heading into his rookie season.