Nico Mannion is fast becoming a fan favorite for the Warriors faithful. But he wasn’t truly welcomed to the league until he faced LeBron James.
The Warriors were struggling for bench production for much of the season thus far. The lack of a point guard with the ability to hang with NBA starters was part of the reason for it.
Brad Wanamaker is certainly good in certain scenarios, but he’s neither the knockdown shooter nor the facilitator the Warriors wanted. It was but obvious that somebody would supersede him for this role eventually.
Nico Mannion has come into his berth of late, and one must admit that he looks like he belongs. The 20-year-old has the demeanour that screams ‘I belong’ at an NBA level, and he’s already proved his mettle.
However, you don’t truly understand what it’s like to be in the NBA till you come face to face with its class. And Mannion was given his Welcome to the NBA experience soon enough.
LeBron James sets a perfect screen on Nico Mannion as Warriors fans remonstrate
With around 3 minutes of the 2nd quarter played, the Warriors trailed the Lakers 32-36. As Talen Horton-Tucker came away with the inbounds pass, Nico Mannion tried to guard him close up.
Mannion might have been a bit more successful in his attempts if he hadn’t crossed paths with one LeBron James. As Mannion looked to tail THT into his own court, he ran into the perfectly positioned James, chest-first.
The result was a painful blow to his midriff that Mannion will definitely be feeling as he goes to bed tonight.
Nico Mannion got a warm welcome to the league from Bron 😂 pic.twitter.com/xvbu6BbsWX
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 16, 2021
Mannion will shrug it off as a learning experience on how to navigate screens. However, when you’re the best player on the planet, you’re bound to have haters. LeBron certainly has them in hordes. One of them was pretty disparaging of the 4-time MVP.
Had that been on lebron he would be on the floor crying like a bitch and the foul would get called
— Brandon Martin Diaz (@d6pack) March 16, 2021
I doubt that LeBron will be losing much sleep over it. He finished the night with a 22-point triple-double with a +/- of +33 in 30 minutes of action. The Lakers came away with the easy 128-97 win.