NBA Draft

Jackson-Davis' chip on shoulder, promise endear him to Warriors

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SAN FRANCISCO – Seventeen hours and one long flight later, Warriors second-round draft pick Trayce Jackson-Davis has no misgivings about the seven-word tweet making the rounds of Dub Nation.

“Y’all will regret it . . . I promise you.”

This was Jackson-Davis’ response to the rest of the NBA on Thursday night while coping with the disappointment of having so many teams tell him, in so many words, that he was not among the 30 or 40 or 50 best players available in the 2023 draft.

So on Friday, arriving in San Francisco after a flight from Indianapolis, Jackson-Davis is sitting in a high-top chair at Chase Center as a member of the Warriors. The Indiana University graduate is Golden State’s second-round pick, No. 57 overall. TJD, his twitter handle, believes he has been slighted.

Jackson-Davis comes into the NBA carrying that feeling of rejection in much the same way as Draymond Green did 11 years ago. Draymond never lost his desire to prove his worth and still remembers all 34 players who were drafted before he went No. 35 in 2012.

“I didn’t do any of that,” Jackson-Davis tells NBC Sports Bay Area, grinning and feeling Draymond’s vibe. “But, obviously, seeing some of the names drafted (ahead of me), especially going into Summer League, I’m going try to make my statement.”

Like Green, Jackson-Davis joins the Warriors after a decorated four-year college career. Like Green, he was a power forward capable of playing center. Both were, as seniors, first-team All-America and first-team All-Big Ten.

Draymond is Michigan State’s all-time leader in rebounds. TJD strongly considered Michigan State before staying close to home and becoming the only player in Indiana history to post 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

At 6-foot-9, 240 pounds, Jackson-Davis is three inches taller and 10 pounds heavier than Green. He’s a better athlete than Draymond and, therefore, a more effective finisher at the rim. Jackson-Davis is a frequent source of the kind of high-velocity dunks that send a buzz through the crowd.

Most important to the Warriors, Jackson-Davis brings a solid all-around game. He averaged 20.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.9 blocks as a senior. Coach Steve Kerr likes what he has seen, and general manager Mike Dunleavy loves what he has seen and heard.

“We had a first-round grade on him,” Dunleavy tells NBC Sports Bay Area, adding that he fully expects TJD to be on the team’s active roster. “Once he started sliding, we were scrambling and hoping. We love his overall production, but most especially his passing in the last year or so. We really value that. In Steve’s system, it’s almost required.

“To get a big guy who can finish above the rim, score in the low post, rebound, defend and pass is pretty unique.”

Why, then, was Jackson-Davis bypassed by so many teams? He spent three hours Thursday night hoping NBA commissioner Adam Silver would call his name among the 30 first-round draft picks – and got nothing.

Silver handed podium duty to deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, who announces second-round picks. Finally, with only three selections remaining, TJD heard his name and his team.

Jackson-Davis’ tweet was nearly an hour old, but Warriors fans rallied with heavy social-media support. They love the idea of a new Warrior vowing vengeance on those who opted to snub.

“I think it’s a great fit. It’s probably the best fit I could possibly have,” Jackson-Davis says. “Playing alongside shooters like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, having Chris Paul (whose acquisition is not yet official) pass the ball where I can roll to the rim for dunks. It’s going to be huge. I can’t wait to get started.”

Kerr describes Jackson-Davis’ production and footage as “impressive.” His rebounding is fierce, his shot-blocking superb and his passing is both clever and audacious. He is, like Green, a “big” who is comfortable dribbling up court and setting up teammates.

As much as the Warriors like his skills, they are particularly fond of Jackson-Davis’ disposition and ability to read the game.

“Playing with a chip on my shoulder, that’s just who I am,” he says. “Now, being able to learn from guys like Steph and Klay and Draymond and CP3, veterans who have done it for a long time, I just want to carry it forward.”

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Jackson-Davis insists that his high-energy approach would be the same even if he were taken in the first round, where he hoped to hear his name.

“Yeah, I would still be the same way,” he says. “But I probably wouldn’t have sent out a tweet.”

The Warriors don’t mind that he did. As of Friday afternoon, the tweet had more than 26,000 likes and nearly 4,000 retweets. Dub Nation and the Warriors long for teams around the league for feel the regret.

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