Warriors trade into first round, draft guard Nemanja Nedovic

Coming into Thursday’s NBA draft, the Warriors had a grand total of zero draft picks. By the end of the first round, the Warriors came away with a new player. But to get there was some kind of odyssey of real-time haggling.

Originally the Warriors were slated to pick at No. 26 overall. That pick, along with guard Malcolm Lee, was reportedly acquired from the Timberwolves Thursday evening for cash and a second-rounder next year. The Warriors were far from done at that point.

The 26th pick was then sent to the Thunder in exchange for the 29th pick. But wait! The 29th pick, along with Lee (we hardly knew ye, Lee), was then shipped to the Suns for the 30th pick. At this point it looked like the Warriors were just going to keep going until they found a landing spot for a guy they loved. But that’s where they stopped. Essentially it all amounts to a giant four-team trade of draft picks and cash. Compelling stuff if you were following in real time.

So, after all that, who did the Warriors select? I bet it was a good one. They must REALLY love this guy, what with all that maneuvering!

…The what? The who?

Nemanja Nedovic. He’s a 6-foot-3, 190-pound, 22-year-old combo guard from Serbia. It’s definitely a surprise pick, outside of the fact that the Warriors went from zero picks to the owning the 30th overall. The Warriors could have used a big man or maybe even a purer point guard, what with Andrew Bogut’s, uh, everything and Festus Ezeli’s upcoming absence as well as the potential departures of both Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack.

Here’s a scouting report from NBADraft.net:

Strenghts: Nedovic has standout athletic abilities, probably the best in Europe for his position, combined with a solid physical structure from the muscular standpoint … In the open court he’s really effective, with the ability to finish above the rim basically on every transition … He has the ability to beat defenders thanks to his first quick step and his crossover moves, especially after the screen in pick and roll situations … He shows nice ball handling, good P&R execution and effective decision making especially in the open court … He has a slashing style of game, able to draw fouls and withstand contact when off balance … He plays with maturity and confidence, showing reliable leadership skills … He shows some glimpses in P&R situations, especially in the first seconds of the offense.

Weaknesses: As a combo, he’s a little bit undersized to play at NBA level … Even if he’s athletic and explosive he lacks elite speed with the ball in his hands to beat defenders in ISO situations … His shot lacks consistency even if he has good mechanics and technical basis (he showed good progresses since last season) … There’s still a lot of work to do with his jump shot, especially pull-up off the dribble… He still needs to develop his playmaking skills since he has to add more consistency … He’s not a point guard but rather a combo at the moment … On the defensive side he could struggle against NBA point guards due to average lateral speed

Notes: Nedovic played constantly in Euroleague with Lietuvos Rytas this year, averaging 10 points and 2 assists in 23 minutes on the court. He also had solid performances at 2013 adidas Eurocamp, showing some progress with his playmaking skills and ability to lead the team in the offensive side … He could be an intriguing pick at the end of the second round, where a team could invest in him

And here’s a highlight reel. Take the video title with a grain of salt. And apologies in advance for the music:

It’s still a mystery as to how Nedovic’s game with translate to the NBA. While he can make athletic plays slashing to the basket, he still needs to work on shooting, defense and traditional point guard skills. Also don’t yet consider him a player the Warriors will “stash” in Europe until he’s ready to make the jump. According to Chris Broussard, the Warriors want to first see how he does in Summer League before making that decision.

Fun factoid here: because Nedovic was the last pick in the first round, his was the last name David Stern announced in the draft as NBA commissioner. From Akeem Olajuwon 30 years ago to Nemanja Nedovic.

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