OAKLAND — Patrick McCaw’s transition from training camp breakout star to master of the DNP-Coach’s Decision has been swift.
The second-round draft pick, who elbowed his way into the early-season rotation thanks to an unexpectedly strong preseason showing, has been stranded on the bench for much of the past two weeks.
Entering Wednesday night’s matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers, the Golden State Warriors’ rookie reserve had missed back-to-back games with a stomach flu and had logged less than a minute of run combined in the three before that.
In an effort to keep McCaw fresh, the team farmed him out to the D-League on Dec. 29 when he dropped 15 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in the Santa Cruz Warriors’ 115-108 win over the Northern Arizona Suns.
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When asked if he prefers to see the court in Santa Cruz or watch from the bench in Oakland, McCaw deferred to the vision of his bosses.
“Uhh…” McCaw said after pause.
“Honestly, it’s whatever the [head] coach [Steve Kerr] sees,” McCaw said. “But I don’t have a problem with doing it. So, going down there and playing, if that’s what I need to do, I’m going to make the most of it. So, whatever coach Kerr wants me to do, you know, management and things like that, I’m willing to do it.”
McCaw has toppled out of the rotation through no fault of his own, but rather as a result of the rise of Ian Clark.
The undrafted Clark, who is consistently the first guard off the bench and is averaging 7.6 points per game in just 16 minutes, is a veteran of the D-League. Before emerging with the Warriors, Clark had to make his name in basketball’s backwaters, suiting up for the likes of the Bakersfield Jam and the Idaho Stampede.
“Definitely it’s inspiring,” McCaw said of the template Clark has set out. “Probably more so because just everything he’s been through. His process and how hard he works [and] how great of a person he is. So, he deserves everything that’s come his way.”
McCaw’s first assignment to the D-League provided him with the chance to build a rapport with fellow 2016 draft pick Damian Jones, who has spent the opening months of the season pinballing between Oracle and Kaiser Permanente Arena, the home of the Sea Dubs.
“We talk almost everyday now,” McCaw said. “Just seeing what each other’s doing. We play the game, play Call of Duty and things like that. We just continue to grow our bond over these past few months. It’s been fun.”d-leagueGolden State Warriorsian clarkNBApatrick mccawSanta Cruz Warriors