Igoudala’s Return Could Lead Warriors to Cut 2020 Draft Pick: Report

Nico Mannion

Getty Nico Mannion #2 of the Golden State Warriors dribbles past Kyle Guy #7 of the Sacramento Kings.

Andre Iguodala’s return to the Bay could mean the end of the line for one of Golden State’s 2020 draft picks.

The longtime Warriors veteran is returning to the team after a two-year stint with the Miami Heat. Iguodala is expected to play an important role coming off the bench for Golden State, and one insider believes that could push a promising young player out of the program.

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Ripple Effects from Iguodala’s Return

Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area broke down the potential roster implications of Iguodala’s return, noting that it’s getting very tight at the far end of the rotation. Including Iguodala, there are already 13 players locked into roster spots, with Damion Lee all but assured to be the 14th even though his contract is not fully guaranteed. He noted that the Warriors may not fill the 15th, instead choosing to keep the flexibility.

That may mean the end for 2020 draft pick Nico Mannion, who split time between Golden State and the team’s G League affiliate in Santa Cruz last season after being drafted in the second round. Mannion averaged just 4.1 points and 2.3 assists in 12.1 minutes per game for the Warriors last season. By the end of the season, injuries had helped Mannion move up to primary point guard with the second unit, but Shiller said he will likely be “on the outside looking in” for next season.

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Wes Goldberg of the Mercury News noted, Mannion failed to stand out in his limited chances with Golden State.

“His 34.2% shooting ranked last on the team and, with defenses sagging off of him, it made driving and kicking much more difficult, especially since he’s not an elite athlete. At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Mannion is too small to be a high-level defender. Over the course of his rookie season, the only thing Mannion proved he could do was to take care of the ball (just one turnover per game), but he did not create for himself or others.”


Another Warrior on the Bubble

Mannion may have some company on the roster bubble. Gary Payton II, who joined the Warriors late in the season on a 10-day contract and is now on the team’s Summer League roster, could also be fighting for the 15th roster spot. As Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle noted, $659,000 of Payton’s $2 million contract is set to become guaranteed on Wednesday, making it likely that he would be waived, but he will likely try to stay on the Summer League roster and fight for an invite to training camp.

“A few solid games against recent lottery picks could well-position him for a 15-man roster spot with Golden State or elsewhere,” Letourneau wrote. “Though Payton is a decade older than Summer League teammate Jonathan Kuminga, he is still part of the NBA’s striving class. Questions about Payton’s jump shot and passing ability continue to overshadow his elite defense.”

Letourneau added that Payton is relying mainly on his defensive prowess, as his career three-point percentage of 26.7 is likely not winning over many teams. Payton is well aware that he is fighting for his NBA life, but remained confident about his chances to make a roster — whether that be in Golden State or elsewhere.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s been stressful,” Payton said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “You’ve just got to trust that the work you’ve put in will pay off once the opportunity presents itself.”

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