Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Steve Kerr.
For a rookie, joining the Golden State Warriors is akin to attending an NBA fantasy camp. The stars are everywhere.
But it’s no fantasy for Trayce Jackson-Davis. The Warriors are all business. They’ve won four of the last nine NBA titles. And the former IU All-American was targeted by Golden State because they know he can step in and contribute to a fifth ring.
Jackson-Davis had a pre-draft workout with Golden State and interviewed with the front office. For a franchise in NBA title or bust mode, they quickly realized Jackson-Davis won’t bring any negative attributes to their locker room.
Things aren’t always perfect in Golden State. Green punched teammate Jordan Poole in a preseason practice a year ago, and the Warriors limped to a 44-38 record and the sixth-seed in the NBA Playoffs.
After the season, Kerr said “there was some trust lost,” referencing how the Green and Poole incident impact the team. The Warriors have since traded Poole and brought in Paul, a veteran widely respected throughout the league.
It was that same quest for no-nonsense players that had the Warriors targeting Jackson-Davis. Kerr has told the former Hoosiers star he likes what he’ll add to the Golden State.
“The biggest thing he’s (Kerr) happy about is the maturity I have,” Jackson-Davis said in an interview on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco on Friday. “Obviously I’m still a rookie but being an older, more mature guy. Making the right basketball plays, watching my film. Being able to pass, making smart IQ plays, is what he’s expecting out of me.”
Jackson-Davis signed a four-year deal with Golden State with two years guaranteed. General Manager Mike Dunleavy has already said he’ll be on the 15-player roster when the season starts in October.
In photos taken inside the Warriors’ locker room, Jackson-Davis’ locker is next to Curry. And Jackson-Davis has already heard a message from the NBA legend similar to Kerr’s. They know TJD will step in and be a team player.
“Steph came up to me and said ‘we are trying to find guys that play the right way and you fit that bill,’ and that’s what I pride myself in, is playing the right way and doing what coach asks me to do and try to make the most of my opportunities,” Jackson-Davis said.
With better spacing and no more double teams, Jackson-Davis is going to have room to operate. The Warriors brought in Paul to lead the second unit, and Jackson-Davis is excited about playing off the 38-year-old in pick-and-rolls — something he thrived at with IU.
“What I’ve heard from around the league, is he (Paul) makes guys lives easy, especially bigs, getting you the ball in the right spot,” Jackson-Davis said. “And then just how friendly he was, coming up, meeting all the young guys, you can just tell that he’s a role model, and he’s someone that wants to win, and overall I thinking playing with him and being in the screen-and-roll with him is going to great honestly.”
Jackson-Davis said he shared a laugh when interviewing with the Warriors when it came to all of the questions about his ability to shoot the basketball. Although he’ll certainly help his cause if he makes the occasional perimeter shot, surrounded by so much proven talent, the former IU star knows he isn’t coming to the Bay Area to chuck up threes.
“The way they space the floor, getting guys open, setting ball screens, flipping to the rim, dunks lobs, doing stuff of that nature,” Jackson-Davis said. “I think that’s how I’ll be able to contribute to this team.”
Although he’s not playing with any of the Warriors stars yet, Jackson-Davis is off to a good start, averaging 16 points and 8.5 rebounds in two Summer League games.
Like he did 50 times at Indiana, Jackson-Davis had a double-double in his second game with 18 points and 10 rebounds on Saturday.
Here are the highlights from that second Summer League contest:
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”