Golden State Warriors: Most Intriguing Players on Summer League Team

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Aaron Craft, Point Guard, Santa Cruz Warriors

Jan 7, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard

Aaron Craft

(4) smiles during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Spartans beat the Buckeyes 72-68 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Craft is interesting because he has been on the cusp on making his entrance to the main roster for quite sometime. He brings a familiarity to the team, and out of all the people on the list besides Looney, one can argue that Craft is the closest to his NBA debut.

If nothing else, Craft is consistent. Looking back into his college days, he spent four years at Ohio State and all four years he averaged between seven and 10 points, 4.6 and 4.8 assists, and always shot around the .450’s with a low of .417 and a high of .500. Looking into Craft’s first year playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors Craft averaged 9.2 points, 6.2 assists, and shot 43.4 percent.

Besides that peak in assists that was the highest of his career, he continued to perform at the same level as he did in college. He isn’t a one trick pony, as his college game has transcended to the pros and he has proven he could be a solid backup.

Craft is an overall above average defender, and has made a name for himself in the steals department. In his final year of college he won the NABC Defensive Player of the Year award, which is an award given by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and is awarded to the best defensive player in the country. The award has been won by players such as Tim Duncan and Anthony Davis.

While in college Craft’s defensive rating was an averaged 90.4. The 2015 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard had a 96.4 defensive rating. While college and the NBA are two totally different games, and while Craft left college after the 2013-14 season, having a defensive rating that high is very impressive.

As for his steals, Craft is one of the best pickpockets the Big Ten and NCAA has ever seen. Craft averaged 2.3 steals per game during his four-year tenure, which ranks first in Big Ten history. Craft’s 337 career steals also ranks first in Big Ten history, and eighth all time in the NCAA. For as long as the NCAA has been around, it is quite impressive that Craft was able to finish in the top ten in a stat.

Looking at Craft’s first season for the D-League, much was the same defensively. His defensive rating took a hit ballooning up to 102, but his steals stayed at a remarkable 2.5 per game. That number ranked first in all of the D-League.

Craft isn’t flashy, but his defensive leadership alone should make him one of the most used players on the Warriors’ Summer League team. If he performs well, maybe he’ll finally get his NBA shot.

Next: Matt Stainbrook