With all of the major (and minor) pieces in place, the Warriors continue to flesh out the deepest parts of the roster leading up to the season opener on October 17th.
Today, news broke that Golden State has signed AP All-American Second Team, and All-Big 12 First Team player, Georges Niang. Niang spent most of last season riding the bench with the Pacers, floating between Indiana’s G-League affiliate and the NBA.
As they did with Patrick McCaw, the Warriors somehow managed to scoop up a highly-touted prospect for peanuts. In addition to the accolades above, Niang was the recipient of the Karl Malone Award, awarded by the Basketball Hall of Fame as the nation's top power forward in college.
Obviously, Niang’s NBA career hasn’t gotten off to the brilliant start that he would have liked, but there is definitely potential here.
SBN sister site, Indy Cornrows, wrote a good review of his season, which fell somewhere between a disappointment and a missed opportunity. For what it’s worth, Niang shined during his time in the G League:
Niang’s six games played with Indiana’s D-League affiliate, in which he averaged 19.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.3 assists, confirmed his knack for making shrewd, winning plays.
So, small-sample-size warning is in full effect, and it is certainly worth mentioning that Niang never managed to crack the NBA rotation for the Pacers. However, it appears his well-rounded game could work well within the Warriors’ system.
As Niang told local newspaper, the Journal-Gazette, he is still working on finding the best ways to impact the game — and this offers some good insight into his overall approach as well:
“Every time you come down here, then you go back (to the NBA) having learned something and you implement things into your game,” said Niang, a 6-foot-8 forward out of Iowa State. “The biggest thing was patience and, definitely, rebounding. I wanted to implement the game through the glass.”
For the Warriors, it’s easy to imagine the slot that Niang would fill with his skill set. In our “switch everything / do everything” system, he could shape into a player that is able to rebound the ball and then immediately push out on the break — one of the most valuable aspects of Draymond Green’s game.
Due to the abundance of options the Warriors already have at forward, Niang will almost certainly spend the bulk of the season with the team’s G League affiliate. Beyond just getting playing time and a chance to grow under coaches that understand the Warriors’ schemes, it may give the team a glance into the future. Paired alongside other newcomer Jordan Bell, the Santa Cruz Warriors will be testing the duo with an eye on the Warriors’ imminent salary constraints.
According to his Draft Express profile, there is a lot of promise here:
As a senior, he averaged a career high of 23.2 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted while making 60.5% of his 2-point attempts and 39.2% of his 3-pointers. Niang's productivity was matched by his efficiency as a scorer and ranked highly among small forwards and three-point shooting power forward prospects in our database.
His efficiency is particularly impressive given his large role in Iowa State's offense, which requires that he wear a variety of hats and create a lot of his offense on his own. Most notably, Niang developed into a very capable shot-creator at the collegiate level, displaying a combination of tools that allow him to power and finesse his way to the basket, as well as the shooting touch to finish tough looks. Along these lines, he made an impressive 60.8% of his attempts around the basket, ranking as a far better interior finisher than all but nine prospects currently ranked in our top-100.
While Niang’s efficiency hasn’t really translated at an NBA level, the Warriors are clearly curious enough to take a serious look. The partially guaranteed deal provides some flexibility. But since the Warriors already have 15 players on fully guaranteed contracts it’s tough to gauge the chances that Niang will manage to hang on with the club. If he does, it could be advantageous to both sides.
Georges Niang bouta get a ring— Ryan Briggs (@ryan_briggs11) August 16, 2017