How did the Santa Cruz Warriors do last season?
En route to experiencing the various twists and turns that a regular season in the NBA D-League has to offer (including injuries, call-ups, etc.), the Warriors entered the post season as the sixth seeded team.
But with the constant comings and goings, it can often prove to be a whole new ball game when the playoffs begin. Building off the momentum from the season prior, the Sea Dubs advanced to the D-League Finals for a second straight season.
How will they be this season?
Arguably the most talented team on paper this season, Santa Cruz will feature four affiliate players, five returning players, and two promising young guns with NBA experience in Carrick Felix and Elliot Williams.
There's no telling how many (and/or when) of the Warriors will get called up between now and the end of the season, but head coach Casey Hill's speciality is continuing to motivate and get the most out of his team, amid apparent changes. If the team can buy into his vision from day one, they'll be able to build upon something special.
Who is the most likely call-up?
Highly regarded as the most athletic player in all of the D-League, Elliot Williams has spent parts of two seasons in the NBA. What's more, there's little he did wrong for the 76ers last season, averaging 6.0 points through 67 contests.
Many of these call-ups may have to wait until midseason, when ten-day contracts can be awarded, but make no mistake, Williams is someone who can provide his team with a boost off the bench, if need be.
Who is the most likely assignee?
Ognjen Kuzmić had plenty of success in Santa Cruz last season, and it'd logical to see the frequent assignee down in Santa Cruz this season.
Golden State employs its share of injury-prone big men, but the fact of the matter is that Kuzmic really developed in the D-League by asserting himself as a dominant rebounder. What's more, he really enjoyed his time there.
Will Joe Alexander get another NBA look?
With so many potential NBA prospects already gracing Santa Cruz's roster, someone who goes under the radar is veteran Joe Alexander. At 6'8" and 230 pounds, the forward may be expected to serve as more of a swingman in the NBA, but still asked to muscle his way inside while in the D-League.
Such conflicting roles could create question marks about the type of impact he could potentially have on the NBA level, but his talent is undeniable. What's more, Alexander has actually progressed quite well during his time in Santa Cruz. Being able to serve as more of a physical presence works to his advantage.