Justinian Jessup is about 7,500 miles and 19 hours’ worth of time zones away from the NBA and the Warriors, but with recent comments by former Golden State star Andrew Bogut, he is becoming more and more in the front of the team’s mind.
Jessup was selected as a draft-and-stash project out of Boise State in the second round of last year’s NBA draft. But with the Warriors thin on depth, there may be some regret in stashing him, especially with what he has done in his first four games for the Ilwarra Hawks of the National Basketball League in Australia.
— Hawks Basketball (@thehawks) November 19, 2020
That’s where Bogut, an Australian, has been keeping tabs on him. In his podcast (H/T Ethan Strauss of The Athletic), Bogut gushed about Jessup:
He battles. He’s got a high basketball IQ, and he’s got a wet ball. Teams here are basically topping him off on everything. They’re making him go to the basket on everything. They’re not giving him any space and he’s still finding space to hit step-back 3s, creating space for his 3s. …
I honestly think he could find time for the Warriors right now. I think he’s young, he’s learning the game, but they need shooters down there in Golden State. You could put him in the corner, you’re not leaving him. So he would really help their offense from that point of view.
Jessup Shooting Lights-Out From 3 in Australian League
Jessup moved to Australia last August to keep his game up-to-date ahead of the 2020 draft, part of the NBL’s “Next Stars” program. He is currently with the same team for which LeMelo Ball played last year.
His numbers bear out Bogut’s enthusiasm. It is only four games, but Jessup has averaged 14.5 points and shot 62.5% from the 3-point line, and 53.3% overall.
Warriors 2020 2nd Round Draft Pick, Justinian Jessup, came out blistering hot in his second game in the NBL.
4/4 3PT pic.twitter.com/L6FEMEs4MD
— r/Warriors (@GSWReddit) January 18, 2021
That was in line with his scouting report heading into the NBA. Jessup has good size—he is 6-foot-7—but was adept at knocking down 3-pointers throughout his four seasons in college. He shot 40.8% from the arc with Boise State. As a senior, he averaged 16.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
Jessup on NBA Call-Up: ‘Plan is to Develop Here’
But Jessup told Strauss he was not anticipating landing in the NBA this season, despite his numbers.
“I think the plan is to develop here,” Jessup told Strauss. “Hopefully I can get an opportunity back in the States next year.”
The Warriors could use him. With Klay Thompson out, the Warriors have found themselves in the odd position of being without very good floor-spacers. Golden State is shooting 36.1% from the 3-point line as a team, which is only 18th in the NBA. Jessup has drawn comparisons to Miami wing Duncan Robinson, another lightly regarded collegian who has developed into a big-time contributor in the NBA.
Here is how one scouting report summed up Jessup ahead of last year’s draft:
He has a great shooting stroke as a 41% career three-point shooter and a 96% free-throw shooter as a senior … He improved from 73% from the FT line as a junior and maintained a great three-point percentage despite higher volume … Jessup is 6’7 so his transition to the NBA will be a lot easier than most college sharpshooters … Took care of the ball with only 1.3 turnovers per game for his career.
Sounds like someone the Warriors could use.