Kerr promises Smailagic ‘will 100%’ leave Santa Cruz for Warriors this year

first_img Steph Curry attends Kanye West’s Sunday Service PORTLAND — Encouraged by what he’s seen from forward Alen Smailagic in the G League, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the rookie will make his NBA debut at some point this season.“He will 100% find his way onto the floor in a game, or multiple games,” Kerr said after Wednesday morning’s shootaround. “We just don’t know when that’s going to be.”With the Warriors’ G League affiliate in Santa Cruz on Tuesday, Smailagic finished with a career-high 29 points on 12-for-18 shooting (5-for-9 from 3-point range), six rebounds, three steals and two blocks in a win over the Agua Caliente Clippers. After he landed in Portland, Kerr watched the game and was pleased with Smailagic’s progress.The No. 39 pick in June’s NBA draft, Smailagic is a long-term project with an intriguing skillset. Though he will spend most of his rookie season developing in Santa Cruz, the Warriors would eventually like to test the 19-year-old at the NBA level. NBA cuts another Warriors game from national TV schedule Flashing natural passing ability and shooting range, Smailagic is averaging 15.8 points per game in the G League this season.“Smiley’s getting in better shape, better condition,” Kerr said of Smailagic, who returned three weeks ago after being sidelined two months with a sprained ankle. “You can see he’s moving better. He’s knocking down the 3-point shot, gaining confidence. It’s good to see him finding his groove.”Smailagic has made periodic trips to San Francisco to practice with Golden State. However, with the Warriors finally healthy, it may take another injury or a rest night for one of the team’s other centers for Smailagic to get an NBA call-up.“We’ll figure out when the right time is to bring him back,” Kerr said. “We’ll just take it a step at a time.”Related Articles ‘What’s in the brief, Willie Cauley-Stein?’ New Warrior out to prove he’s all business Warriors resemble team of old, Kevon Looney isn’t ready, and other thoughts from loss to Trail Blazers Why the Warriors want to keep Damion Lee beyond this season last_img