There had been some hope that Justinian Jessup’s time was coming this season, but a poor showing in Summer League may have closed the door for the 2020 draft pick to earn a spot with the Golden State Warriors — or any NBA roster.
The No. 51 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft had been stashed overseas for the last two seasons, playing for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia’s NBL. Warriors reporter Brian Witt suggested back in June that this could be the season for Jessup to make his Warriors debut, predicting he would earn a two-way contract.
Those hopes may now be dashed.
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Jessup Fails to Stand Out
The draft-and-stash prospect had built up some buzz in Summer League last year, scoring 12.4 points with 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in his five games in Las Vegas last season. But Jessup failed to match the performance this year. Appearing in two games for the Warriors in Las Vegas, Jessup averaged just 3.5 points in 12.5 minutes per game, connecting on one of his four 3-pointers.
Dieter Kurtenbach of the Bay Area News Group noted that Jessup’s stock with the team is down after the showing, agreeing with a commenter that his door of opportunity in the NBA is most likely shut.
“Yeah. Didn’t work out,” Kurtenbach tweeted. “He’ll have a nice overseas career though.”
Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News had warned ahead of the start of Summer League that this could be a make-or-break stretch for Jessup. The 24-year-old had been drafted largely on his shooting prowess, but in the two years since his draft he failed to show enough shooting consistency to overcome his defensive deficiencies, Rubin wrote.
“He hasn’t proven he can stick in the NBA, but this Summer League will be crucial in deciding how to proceed with Jessup’s future with the Warriors,” Rubin noted. “Jessup and Seth Cooper, the Warriors’ coach for the California Classic, said his main focus will be monitoring his defensive improvements.”
Warriors’ Roster Rounding Out
The Warriors have been gradually filling their remaining holes on the roster for the upcoming season. After losing a pair of sharp-shooting big men in Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica, the Warriors may have found a replacement. Sham Charania of The Athletic reported that veteran forward JaMychal Green planned to sign with the Warriors after the Oklahoma City Thunder completed a buyout.
As Tristi Rodriguez of NBC Sports Bay Area noted, the Warriors now have 15 players on their roster including Quinndary Weatherspoon, who is on a two-way contract. Second-round draft pick Ryan Rollins remained unsigned, but he was expected to make the team’s final 15-man roster as well, and veteran Andre Iguodala would have a spot waiting if he chooses to return to the Warriors.
As Rodriguez noted, there did not appear to be much room left on the roster for additions.
“With the dynasty Big Three trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green still intact, role players ready to run it back and a youthful group of guys eager for their first and second years in the league — the Warriors appear to be in good shape for next season,” Rodriguez wrote.