In the 2016 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors acquired draft rights to Patrick McCaw out of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and at the time, it was an under-the-radar type of move.
Patrick McCaw, the 21 year-old shooting guard, was originally selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 38th pick, so the fact that the Warriors acquired him wasn’t exactly earth-shattering news.
Second-round picks are often overlooked in the NBA, but sometimes, teams can get lucky with them. The Warriors got a steal when they drafted Draymond Green with the 35th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and they might have gotten another steal with McCaw last year.
At first glance, McCaw’s stats from last year aren’t overly impressive. He averaged 4.0 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 1.1 assists on 43.3 percent shooting from the field, 33.3 percent three-point shooting, and 78.4 percent shooting from the line in 15.1 minutes per game in 71 total games last season.
It might be difficult to gauge what kind of player McCaw is based on those statistics, so in order to get a better idea, let’s make a comparison. McCaw’s style of play has been compared to Andre Iguodala, one of his teammates and his mentors on the team.
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Like Iguodala, McCaw is the type of player that can contribute to a game and to his team in multiple ways. They’re both stellar perimeter defenders who can hound players one-on-one but can also patrol the passing lanes, predict offensive movement, and switch and guard several other positions. McCaw’s biggest strength out of college was his defense, but last season, he showed improvement on the offensive side of the ball too.
He worked on his three-point shooting throughout the season, he worked on his passing, and as he became more comfortable with the Warriors’ system, he gained more offensive awareness. Generally, he is a very intelligent player with good instincts (just like Iguodala), so his offense will naturally improve as he gets more experience.
McCaw didn’t see consistent, steady minutes throughout the regular season, but when he was called upon, he greatly impressed Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who even said that he saw some Shaun Livingston in McCaw’s style of play too. Kerr admired McCaw’s feel for the game even at the beginning of the season, and he rewarded him with more and more playing time as the season went on.
McCaw, again, wasn’t given consistent playing time in the first couple rounds of the playoffs. However, in the Western Conference Finals and the NBA Finals, he was given a bigger role.
In Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, filling in for an injured Iguodala, McCaw scored 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting (3-of-4 from three-point range), had five assists and three steals, and collected three rebounds in 27 minutes. After arguably his best game in his young NBA career, some of his teammates shared some high praise for him with Carl Steward of the Bay Area News Group.
“He was amazing,” said Stephen Curry. “Obviously, with Andre out, it’s the next-man-up philosophy. Everybody says it, but when you have a guy like Pat who doesn’t really know when his minutes are going to come, he always stays ready. We just told him to be aggressive, make the right decision and make things happen, and he did that the whole game. That was a huge pickup for us.”
“He’s really athletic, so when you put a big on him (defensively), you want him to use his athleticism to get by them and create some havoc in the paint,” added Kevin Durant. “He did a great job of it.”
The Warriors’ coaching staff thought it was smart to start giving McCaw more minutes in the second half of the season, in the hopes that he would be more prepared when and if he was needed during the playoffs. This plan surely worked out, and the plan continues to this day.
After an overall successful rookie season and coming off of winning a championship, McCaw played for the Warriors’ NBA Summer League team. In five games, he averaged 20.0 points on 45.6 percent shooting from the field in 29.4 minutes.
In those five games, McCaw already showed improvement from last season. He appeared more aggressive on offense, driving to the basket more often and with more authority. He also exhibited better touch, which allowed him to finish at the basket more easily and efficiently and allowed him to have better ball-handling and passing.
He was able to carry the confidence that he gained from last season and the playoffs, especially, into Summer League and take advantage of more playing time and a bigger role on the team. Now, if he can carry the confidence that he gained from Summer League, then he could certainly be in line to play more than 15.1 minutes per game in his sophomore season, especially since it appears as if Ian Clark won’t re-sign with the team.
The Warriors signed another shooting guard this offseason, Nick Young, but he was brought on for his shooting ability and not much else. McCaw provides the Warriors with much more than just one skill. He’s young and still learning, but he brings so many different skills and so much potential to the Warriors that he will still see more playing time this upcoming season, even with Young on the roster.
McCaw is the type of player that the Warriors love. He can contribute to the team in many ways, he’s eager to learn, he’s adaptable, he’s versatile, and he works hard. He has a great attitude and has strong character.
McCaw has the potential and drive to become a key bench player for the Warriors this upcoming season. He has all of the characteristics that you’d want in a young player, and he has an opportunity that many young players dream of. It’s his time to shine.