If you didn’t know too much about Trayce Jackson-Davis, his situation and who he is as a player, you’d probably call what happened on Thursday night a freefall.
This was a player whose ceiling was projected as high as the latter few picks of the first round, with his floor mostly being the first few picks of the second. Instead, he was taken second-to-last in the draft, No. 57.
But the draft is a two-way street. Players, and their teams, can leverage their way into a preferable situation. Once the first round went by, that’s pretty much what happened with Jackson-Davis.
Most teams that would’ve taken him at that point, including his hometown Indiana Pacers, probably would’ve signed him to a two-way contract. So Jackson-Davis and co. found a team that wouldn’t: The Golden State Warriors.
Jackson-Davis knew he was going to be a Warrior heading into the second round, according to the IndyStar’s Tyler Tachman. Golden State was going to trade up or pick him at 57 if he was still on the board.
One way or another, Jackson-Davis was heading to the Bay Area. But he wasn’t gonna let every team that passed on him in the first round forget it.
Y’all will regret it… I promise you.— TJD (@TrayceJackson) June 23, 2023
That’s a bet on himself, and only he has the power to cash it. But, based on his ascent through four years at Indiana from a dominant post scorer to one of the best players in the country that raises the team around him, he absolutely can live up to it.
And, again, Golden State is probably the best spot for him to do so.
With a 3-year contract, Jackson-Davis has the opportunity to play with the best 3-point shooting duo in the league, one of the best of all time, in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. It’ll be even better now that he’s made strides as a passer under Mike Woodson.
The Warriors aren’t all that big of a team either. Standing at 6-9, Trayce is already tied for the tallest player on the roster. None of Golden State’s bigs are taller than 6-9.
The biggest knock on Jackson-Davis’ game leaving college was his lack of a 3-point jumpshot. He didn’t really try any and never made one across three years at Indiana. He hit a few during workouts, but literally every basketball player can hit 3-pointers in that setting.
He’s probably not gonna be asked to take those shots much, if at all. Draymond Green is obviously at a different level than Jackson-Davis, but he was never among the Warriors’ prolific shooters. Kevon Looney, who plays a role similar to what Jackson-Davis projects as, is a 16.9% 3-point shooter on his career and made zero in the Warriors’ playoff series against the Lakers.
What Jackson-Davis can do is go up for layups, catch lobs, dish out crisp passes and be a capable rim runner. The Warriors have experience with that type of player, so it’s really the ideal fit for him going forward.
There’s a few great passers around Jackson-Davis, including the likes of Chris Paul and Steph Curry, that’ll make his ability to play above the rim all that more dangerous. Not to mention he’ll be playing for one of the best coaches in NBA history, Steve Kerr.
Additionally, the Warriors’ frontcourt could take a few hits this summer should Green depart and if they move Jonathon Kuminga, whose name has come up previously in trade rumors.
Rest assured if you’re an Indiana fan or just a fan of Jackson-Davis’ game. The Warriors were the perfect landing spot all-along, he should have a role with Golden State.