When Nico Mannion fell to the Golden State Warriors at 48, many didn’t expect the Arizona Wildcats guard to drop that low. However, it turned out that was part of the plan all along.
Mannion reportedly drew interest from a couple of other teams early in the second round but rejected them in order to land with the Warriors, according to Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle. Then, last week, Mannion signed a two-way contract with Golden State.
The Warriors were likely appealing to Mannion because of the roster makeup and ability to play meaningful minutes. Additionally, he previously played at Stephen Curry’s elite camp and will also play under fellow Wildcats alum Steve Kerr.
Players choosing to bypass specific teams isn’t uncommon. Oftentimes, they will elect to go undrafted to have the ability to sign with a team that will best fit their needs and development while others prefer to join a team they can play for.
Certainly, Mannion believed the Warriors were the best place for him.
The 19-year-old earned All-Pac 12 Second Team honors last season after averaging 14 points, 5.3 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals. His stock took a bit of a hit after an inconsistent showing in conference play but he could have a bright future with further development.
Under normal circumstances, Mannion would spend most of the season in the NBA G League on his two-way contract. However, given the uncertainty with the G League season amid the coronavirus pandemic, that could change this season.
The Warriors’ selection of Mannion earned praise from Hall of Famer Chris Mullin as he believes Mannion could eventually earn backup minutes within the rotation. Mullin likes his toughness and ball-handling and that was likely what drew the organization’s attention to Mannion.