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Warriors learn hard lesson with failure of Smiley experiment

by Lewis hawkins
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Lspan>Lessons never stop in the NBA, no matter the standing of a franchise, and the Warriors learned another hard one this week.L

After swallowing the last morsels of illusion, they stared directly into NBA reality and on Wednesday ended the celebrated experiment that was Alen Smailagić.

The Warriors celebrated because they thought they’d outwitted the rest of the league in trading two future second-round draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans for the right to move up to select Smailagić in the second round of the 2019 NBA draft.

The 6-foot-10 forward/center with the inviting personality was taken 39th overall, two spots ahead of Warriors teammate Eric Paschall, seven spots ahead of Talen Horton-Tucker and nine spots ahead of Terance Mann.

Paschall played 1,654 minutes over 60 games and was voted to the All-Rookie first team. Smailagić appeared in 14 games, looking overmatched for all of his 139 NBA minutes.

“Smiley” was a project all along, and the Warriors knew it. He was 18 when drafted, and only 17 when he posted decent numbers for the semi-professional Serbian Regional League. The Los Angeles Lakers selected him in the 2018 G League draft, sending the 17-year-old to the Santa Cruz Warriors.

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