Golden State Warriors

Warriors G Nico Mannion lights it up in the G-League bubble, C Alen Smailigic continues to struggle

The Warriors are hanging in there in the Western Conference, but at some point, they’re likely to need reinforcements.

That’s where the NBA G-League comes in. General manager Bob Myers sent rookie guard Nico Mannion to the league’s Orlando bubble along with second-year G Jordan Poole to play with the Santa Cruz Warriors, the team’s affiliate. Project center Alen Smailagic and NBA veteran Jeremy Lin also highlight the roster.

On Sunday, it was Mannion’s turn to shine. He had a banner game in a Santa Cruz win, even hitting five 3-pointers, per The Athletic’s Anthony Slater, who also shed some light on the young Warriors that Myers likely has his eye on the most.

You’ve got to figure the Warriors are at least open to giving Poole or Mannion, more likley Poole, who has impressed the most for the Sea Dubs, a crack at taking G Brad Wanamaker’s minutes. There’s also Lin, who has been consistent when he’s on the floor.

Plus, there’s Poole, as I mentioned. He missed Sunday’s game with lower leg issues, but purely speculating, I expect he’ll be back soon and was just resting out of precaution. He has to rest after making highlights like this one.

I’m a big Poole fan, and he’ll almost certainly get a shot at joining the rotation in some role. A former first-round pick, it would be a huge bonus to the franchise if he can translate some of his stellar G-League play into the NBA.

Smailagic is reportedly another story. I hadn’t heard anything about his performance coming off an injury, but Slater had nothing good to say. He’s taking up a spot on Golden State’s roster, and it appears time could be up for him in the Bay Area. Perhaps not, however. It depends on how bad Myers needs that roster spot.

As far as Mannion, he could potentially help Golden State this year, too. But he’s a year behind Poole and will probably wait in line. Lin could even be a factor on the big club if he can stay healthy.

Myers and team brass will get a clearer picture regarding potential reinforcements as the G-League regular season ends on March 6, and a single-elimination playoff begins March 8.

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