The Golden State Warriors announced on Thursday that they had recalled forward/center Alen Smailagić from their G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors. Smailagić had surgery on a torn meniscus earlier in the season, so this marks the first time all year that he’ll be with Golden State while healthy.
WARRIORS RECALL FORWARD ALEN SMAILAGIĆ pic.twitter.com/4SlORuD1u3— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) March 11, 2021
Smailagić didn’t play heavy minutes in Santa Cruz, as the team eased him back into action following his rehab. Still, in 10 games and 17.0 minutes per night, Smiley averaged 7.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 0.8 blocks per game, while shooting 52.5% from the field.
The second-year player, who is still just 20 years old, will have an uphill battle to find minutes. Kevon Looney and James Wiseman are currently healthy, meaning the Warriors not only have a full frontcourt, but 15 healthy players in all. In all likelihood, Smailagić will be inactive most nights for the rest of the year.
That said, Steve Kerr made it clear on Wednesday that he will mix up the rotation going forward as the Warriors try to find some separation from the .500 mark.
Steve Kerr says "there will be some rotational changes for sure," for the Warriors tomorrow. Won't say what they are.— Brady Klopfer (@BradyKlopferNBA) March 11, 2021
Unclear if James Wiseman can play after he missed a covid test and was unable to practice today.
Could that mean that Smailagić finds his way onto the court? Unlikely. Looney is playing well, Wiseman’s development is important, and the Warriors have — justifiably — shown little interest in playing with two traditional bigs on the court at the same time. Smiley will likely have to impress on the practice court before he sees any meaningful action, unless there’s an injury.
Then again, I’m wrong with great regularity, so you can probably prepare for him to start.