Nico Mannion, who was drafted No. 48 overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2020 and later joined the club as a two-way baller, has been on a wild ride since taking his game overseas. And not in a particularly good way.
The former McDonald’s All-American went viral before last season when an intestinal infection saw him drop almost 20 pounds. That illness, combined with a bout with COVID-19, back problems and an ankle injury resulted in both a delayed start and underwhelming overall effort during his first year with Serie A’s Virtus Bologna.
He has continued to show flashes of big-league potential, like when he dropped 20 points on Spain while repping Italy in FIBA World Cup qualifiers earlier this month. However, he has experienced long stretches of riding the pine when suiting up for his domestic club.
Given the adversity he’s faced since leaving the Warriors, one can’t help but wonder if the NBA door is already beginning to close on him. Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney recently spoke to an Association scout in an effort to find out.
Scout: Don’t Count Mannion Out Just Yet
Mannion is actually coming off what might be his best two-game run to date with Virtus, having logged consecutive 15-point nights on 60% shooting in wins over Trento and Brindisi (on November 20 & 27). Across all competitions, though, he’s averaging just 7.8 points and 2.6 assists per game.
And he’s coming off a year in which he was largely relegated to mop-up duty. Nevertheless, the scout tells Deveney that Mannion has time to make his presence known and get back on the NBA radar.
“He is young, he is 21. European coaches, they don’t like to play young guys all that much so, when you consider that as part of it, he is really playing pretty well over there,” the scout assessed. “They have a couple of veterans, Iffe Lundberg and [Milos] Teodosic, ahead of him but he has still been able to make an impact.”
Added the scout: “It’s a good team, it is probably the best team in the Italian League and they want to win a championship, so developing a young guy is not their top priority. They’re going to play him when they think he can help them win.”
Warriors Make Seismic Leap in NBA Power Rankings
NBA.com‘s John Schuhmann released his Week 7 power rankings on the Association’s official site and, for the first time in a while, the Dubs were back in the top 10 (at No. 10 overall).
The champs have won the last five games in which they’ve had their starters, with the starting lineup having outscored their opponents by 64 points (scoring an amazing 147.3 per 100 possessions) in its 82 minutes over that stretch. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins have combined to shoot 75-for-152 (49.3%) from 3-point range over those five games (Draymond Green is 4-for-7!), with the Warriors shooting more liberally from beyond the arc. After taking more than half their shots from 3-point range in just one of their first 12 games, they’ve done it seven times in their last nine. With that, they’ve outscored their opponents by an average of 24.6 points per game from 3-point range over these last five wins.