Honorary Warriors For Life? Vote on Alen Smailagic and Marquese Chriss
Relax, this is just for reminiscing.
Honorary Warriors For Life, new process
The loudest voices in the comments are not satisfied with voting via a Well/Poorly vote and letting the aggregate vote process run its course. They don’t want an electoral college, they want to directly vote on whether players are Honorary Warriors For Life.
So, let’s try it that way today.
The concept is simple. There are some players who are not in the Warriors organization, but Warriors fans will still pull for anyway (as long as no Warriors interests are at stake). So they are not a part of Dub Nation, but they still are welcomed into Dub Nation. This is very often because they are former Warriors players, but not always.
We’ve changed up the process a couple of times in the past, and this is our master list of all those voted Honorary Warriors For Life so far.
And now for our two nominees…
Smailagic was a second round pick (#39), so why are some Warriors fans so hung up on his career never getting launched?
It's something of an infamous story actually, we tend to not bag on the FO much here, but the Smiley thing is as much about how they signed him as it is about his disappointing performance.
Smiley was the first draft project from Kirk Lacob, son of the owner - who has generally seemed to be perfectly fine. But they hired a 22 year old with no relevant experience and plugged him in as an assistant GM who then championed hard for an unheralded 16 year old from out of nowhere.
So the story goes that Kirk was tagging along with an overseas scouting expedition when they went to take a look at Smiley as a favor to a friend on a day off. Smiley wasn't on anyone's draft radar, it was reportedly "come see if he could eventually be good" - and Lacob really, really liked what he saw that day.
Still an unknown to Europe’s top clubs at that point, Smailagic hadn’t played at any level higher than Serbia’s third division, in which he dominated his shorter, less athletic peers. Yet in August 2018, Lacob told Smailagic’s agent that the Warriors were interested in making his client the youngest player in the history of the G League.
So they brought him over as the youngest player ever in the G League, stashed him there for a year before burning 2 draft picks to move up and grab him.
And then, we all know the career.
As someone else points out, two big injuries right as the last two seasons opened, which is a bummer for a guy that needs camp and development time.
So the angst around this guy is because he really hasn't developed, even though the team has stuck with him; but it's also very much a criticism of a FO miss that was part of the early learning curve for the new team owner's son.
Let me add that there was all this intrigue around Smiley. When he first joined the G-League, the Warriors actively hid him from other GMs — as in faking an injury to keep him out of the G-League Showcase — so no one would grab him. Then GSW traded two second round picks to move up to grab Smiley. Would those second rounders have amounted to much? Probably not. But this was a LOT of implicit hype around a guy who never really got up to NBA speed.
But he never complained and he seemed to work hard despite the injuries, so I don’t think any drama around him is personal.
Post-postscript. I estimate the Adriatic Basketball Association to be as strong as a top NCAA conference. Comprehensive review here:
He seemed to love being a Warrior, as he went from a draft pick bust for the Phoenix Suns to a reclamation project.
Draymond Green even went on a tear defending Chriss as being neglected and not well developed by the Suns organization.
Chriss was a shining light in the crummy 2019-20 season and was an important rotation piece for the 2020-21 Dubs when he got injured right after Christmas. I suspect he would have possibly taken over starting minutes as the season progressed (with Wiseman getting time off the bench and Looney closing.
Plenty of Dub Nation HQers wanted Chriss for the 15th spot as he was an exciting young big who proved he could play decently already for us.
However, the dreams were dashed when Chriss signed with the Portland Trailblazers on Sept 3.
You can vote by Twitter or by comment (which counts as ten Twitter votes) on the simple question for each player.
Is Alen Smailagic an Honorary Warrior For Life?
Is Marquese Chriss an Honorary Warrior For Life?
A straight 75% vote will qualify the player for HWFL status.