When it became clear that a number of players would be departing from the Golden State Warriors over the summer, it looked as though Justinian Jessup — the team’s second-round pick two years ago — would have a real shot at getting into the mix for a back-end roster spot.
Unfortunately, he played himself right out of the mix during summer league. In five games with the Dubs during the Californioa Classic and the Las Vegas league, Jessup averaged just 6.4 points and 1.8 rebounds per outing while shooting 42% from the floor and 24% from three.
Worse yet, he looked a step slow on the court — particularly on the defensive end — while squaring off against fringe NBA players.
Nevertheless, his previous success in the Land Down Under, not to to mention his more recent exploits in the best professional league outside of the US, leaves one to wonder whether there still might be an NBA jump in his future. To that end, Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney went to a West executive for their take on Jessup’s prospects.
Exec Sounds Off on Jessup Situation (Now & in the Future)
In the wake of his disappointing summer league experience, Jessup managed to land a deal with Zaragoza of the ACB League in Spain. And, much as he did during a two-year stint with the NBL’s Illawarra Hawks, he has raised eyebrows with his play in La Liga.
For the year, Jessup is averaging 13.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game while connecting on a career-best 38.1% of his tries from three-point range. However, his latest effort was arguably the best we’ve seen from him since he turned pro. In 30 minutes of play against Real Madrid on November 6, Jessup scored 28 points on 17 shots, nailing four triples and adding six boards, three assists and a pair of steals along the way.
But does any of this mean he’s worthy of another NBA shot? The aforementioned exec put it this way — “Next summer is make or break for him.”
As he sees it, Jessup has at least one very important NBA skill in his back pocket, but time is running short for the baller to parlay that into a stateside career.
“He is playing on a bad team over there, but they’re figuring out he is the best player they’ve got. That is going to be good for him because it is a good league, the Spanish League is the second-best league in the world. He is going to see a lot of different defenses. But he will be 25 next summer and it will be a situation where it might be his last chance to make an NBA roster and have a role.
“He can shoot. He will get another chance because he shoots it so well, but he has been stashed about as long as he can possibly be stashed. Now he either has to play or he is going to be an international player for the duration. ”
Jessup’s Career to Date
After leaving Boise State as the all-time three-point king in school and Mountain West Conference history, as well as a two-time all-conference pick, Jessup was selected 51st overall in 2020. Rather than join the Warriors right away, though, he signed a Next Stars deal with the Aussie Hawks.
Over his two years with the club, he averaged 13.2 points, 3.7 boards and 1.1 steals across 68 appearances while posting shooting splits of 43-35-79. After having failed to qualify for postseason play in each of the three years preceding his arrival, Jessup helped Illawarra reach two NBL Seminals while he was there.