Warriors insider floats former top 10 pick as solution to Otto Porter Jr. void

NBA : Indiana Pacers vs Golden Gate Warriors in San Francisco
NBA : Indiana Pacers vs Golden Gate Warriors in San Francisco / Anadolu/GettyImages

Ever since his departure following the 2022 championship, the Golden State Warriors have been unable to fill the void left by now retired fan-favorite Otto Porter Jr.

The Warriors signed JaMychal Green and Dario Saric across the last two offseasons, but while they had their moments with the franchise, they were never able to deliver the sort of high-level consistency Porter brought.

Signing Jalen Smith in free agency could be the Golden State Warriors answer to finally replacing Otto Porter Jr.

Acquiring a three-point shooting threat at the 4/5 position should again be a priority for Golden State this offseason, with each of Jonathan Kuminga, Draymond Green, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Kevon Looney not known for their exploits from beyond the arc.

In an article identifying the Warriors' potential wish list this offseason, The Athletic's Tim Kawakami floated former top 10 pick Jalen Smith as an intriguing free agent option to fill the Porter role.

"The 2020 first-round pick by the Phoenix Suns played well at times for the Pacers this season and shot it well from 3-point (42.4 percent) but was pulled from the rotation in the playoffs. If the Warriors could get him for three years at the midlevel exception, he might be the new Otto Porter Jr. Just for more money and minus a lot of wear and tear."

Tim Kawkami

Golden State will likely have access to the taxpayer mid-level exception this offseason, potentially opening up the possibility of acquiring someone like Smith. The 24-year-old has a $5.4 million player option for next season, but Kawakami believes it's possible he declines it in order to sure up more long-term money.

Smith averaged 9.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17.2 minutes for the Pacers this season, shooting 42.4% from three-point range on 2.4 attempts per game. The major question is whether that shooting is something to believe in moving forward, or if it's an outlier given he's just 33.5% on his career.

The former 10th overall pick is a fascinating option given he's still young enough to theoretically improve and become a key rotation player for years, though he's certainly not the experienced, playoff proven veteran the Warriors should probably target given the Stephen Curry window.