Warriors rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis entered the league with a chip on his shoulder as the No. 57 overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft.
But it didn't take long for his new teammates Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to realize the 23-year-old could perform well beyond where he was selected -- something Jackson-Davis showed again in Golden State's 129-118 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday night at Chase Center.
"You're more so thinking about what [Jackson-Davis'] strengths could be in the league, and he's showing them right now," Curry told reporters after the game, reflecting on his thoughts in June when the Warriors took Jackson-Davis in the second round. "Athletic ... Those guys that played three, four years in college, they come with a level of maturity ...
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"There's a narrative around an experienced college player coming in that he might give you something, but you never really know how it's going to play out. Just the strength of what he had been doing for us and the way he's impacting the game, there was hope that that's what it will look like.
"And so I'm glad he's proving that pretty early on."
Curry said he was familiar with the Indiana product's game already when the Warriors drafted Jackson-Davis. Golden State had acquired the 57th pick as a portion of the Jordan Poole-for-Chris Paul trade, sending Patrick Baldwin Jr. and some cash to the Wizards in exchange for the selection and immediately using it to draft Jackson-Davis.
Golden State Warriors
And so far, Curry's hopes for Jackson-Davis are coming true. The rookie has forced his way into coach Steve Kerr's rotation, offering size and athleticism that gives the Warriors a new dimension on both ends of the court. Jackson-Davis has been critical to Golden State's success, and on Friday posted his second consecutive double-double with 10 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and a block, finishing plus-10 over 25 minutes.
Even dating back to training camp, Thompson knew the Warriors had a great pick on their hands.
"I just looked up his resume in college, and it was incredibly impressive," Thompson said of his immediate thoughts on Jackson-Davis after the draft. "I mean, he averaged like 20-10, was the player of the year in his conference or at least All-American. Any time you get a player like that who's ready to contribute, it's awesome. ...
"I could tell he could be a force in this league."
Jackson-Davis was surprised when he fell to No. 57 in the draft, he said after Friday's game, but he's pleased with the way things worked out as he makes a name for himself alongside several future Hall of Famers with multiple championships to reflect on.
"I'm happy to be here and I'm blessed to play with these guys," Jackson-Davis told reporters.
And it's clear that Curry, Thompson and the rest of Golden State's veterans believe the future of the franchise is bright, too.