Golden State acquires draft rights to Serbian teen Alen Smailagić

The Golden State Warriors announced a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night to acquire the draft rights to teenage forward Alen Smailagić, who played with the Santa Cruz Warriors last season. (SCW Photos)

The 6-foot-10, 215-pounder played for the Santa Cruz Warriors last season

The Golden State Warriors announced a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night to acquire the draft rights to teenage forward Alen Smailagić, the 39th selection in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Golden State gave New Orleans two second-round picks (2021 and ’23) and cash considerations for the rights to Smailagić. He’s expected to sign a multi-year deal with Golden State within the week.

Smailagic, a 6-foot-10, 215-pounder out of Serbia, played for the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s G League affiliate, last season.

Smailagic made his NBA G League debut for the Warriors at 18 years and 77 days old, becoming the youngest player in league history.

During Thursday’s press conference after the draft, Golden State President of Operations Bob Myers talked about the character of the players they drafted having importance for the team, which included Smailagic.

“In a lot of these situations, you do bet on the player, but you also bet on the person, and having had the opportunity.. to watch him practice, watch him work, watch him grow — that stuff really matters,” Myers said. “He’s got good size, good feel, good confidence. All those factors, you combine them all, and I think it made us feel pretty good about that selection.”

The Golden State Warriors announced a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night to acquire the draft rights to teenage forward Alen Smailagić, who played with the Santa Cruz Warriors last season. (SCW Photos)

Smailagić is the third international player drafted into the NBA from the NBA G League, joining Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Greece) and Chukwudiebere Maduabum (Nigeria), and the seventh overall to play in the NBA’s official minor league before being drafted by an NBA team.

Smailagic was selected by the South Bay Lakers with the fourth overall selection in the 2018 NBA G League Draft before his rights were traded to Santa Cruz.

Smailagic appeared in 47 regular season games — with four starts — for the Warriors last season and averaged 9.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists.

Smailagic joins Mike Taylor (55th overall, 2008), Latavious Williams (48th overall, 2010), Maduabum (54th overall, 2011), Glen Rice, Jr. (35th overall, 2013), P.J. Hairston (26thoverall, 2014) and Antetokounmpo (51st overall, 2014) as players with NBA G League experience to be selected in an NBA Draft.

Golden State also drafted Michigan shooting guard Jordan Poole in the first round – 28th overall. He averaged 12.8 points, 3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in route to earning a spot on the All-Big Ten Honorable Mention team.

In the second round, Golden State selected Yale shooting guard Miye Oni (58th overall) and traded with Atlanta to acquire the 41st pick, Villanova power forward Eric Paschall.

Paschall started 27 games for Fordham in the Atlantic 10 Conference during the 2014-2015 season, then transferred to Villanova and red-shirted the following season.

Over his three seasons with the Wildcats, his scoring improved each year and finished with 16.5 points in 36 minutes per game his final year with the team.

“I expect that they’ll be good people, work hard, and make us look good,” Myers said. “I hope they work hard, I hope they’re humble, I hope they fit into our culture… I hope they help us win some basketball games.”

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