Second-round picks of good teams aren’t supposed to contribute right away. They’re typically projects, guys who could one day develop into a rotation player.
On Wednesday night, with the Golden State Warriors playing the Toronto Raptors, head coach Steve Kerr decided to turn to Patrick McCaw — the Dubs’ rookie guard — to finish the game instead of veteran Andre Iguodala.
McCaw had an assist, a rebound, hit a 3-pointer and blocked a shot down the stretch. He played so effectively, Iguodala joked to CSN Bay Area that he suspected the 21-year-old was trying to steal his minutes.
“Felt great just to be on the floor in general,” McCaw said at practice on Thursday after logging a career-high in minutes the night before.
The key for McCaw has been his ability to see the game clearly, which he said has always been his strong suit — even if it’s not characteristic of a guy playing in his first season at the highest level.
The issue for the “precocious” guard — as assistant coach Ron Adams called him — is the Warriors’ backcourt is so crowded. That’s a benefit for Kerr, who can pace his veterans like Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, but a possible drawback for McCaw and fellow reserve Ian Clark.
“[McCaw and Clark will] both play big roles,” Kerr said, “it’s just going to vary from game to game.”
While the part he plays, depending on injuries, will be in flux the rest of the season, Adams made it clear on his appearance on KNBR on Thursday that McCaw has a solid spot in the rotation.
“The game develops slowly for him more like it does for a veteran who’s played a number of seasons,” the defensive guru said. “The coaching staff really likes him, he plays both sides of the ball. Defensively, he’s just got a really good head on his shoulders. He sees things as they develop. I think he’s the kind of guy who sees ahead of what’s happening. … It’s a form of composure.”
General manager Bob Myers has built a reputation for hitting on second-round picks after taking Draymond Green with the 35th pick in 2012. It’s unlikely McCaw will have the same kind of impact in such a short amount of time. But it’s clear the team believes they have another overlooked gem.
Don’t expect McCaw, the son of a basketball coach, to lose his composure despite playing for a pro team with the highest expectations of any group in modern history. When asked at practice in Toronto on Thursday, McCaw said, “Actually I haven’t come across anything that’s make me nervous yet.”