With the annual D-League Showcase taking place in Santa Cruz this week, Juwan Staten may be in familiar stomping grounds, but he faces one of the first necessary challenges in his pro career. After starting the season off with the Warriors as an affiliate player, Staten was recently traded to the Delaware 87ers.
Even though Gary Talton helps man the point guard position for the 87ers, there's no doubt the team could use some additional depth at the one. Enter Staten, who had been having a solid season statistically, but turned out to be a casualty as the Warriors made a change.
"Being traded. the way I look at it is that it feels good to be wanted. Delaware wanted me and has welcomed me with open arms," Staten told RidiculousUpside.com. "I'm thankful for that and now it's time to help them anyway I can." With that in mind, he knows what his first task is.
"I have to earn my minutes, but I don't have a problem with that. The more I'm with these guys, the more chances I'll have to earn more minutes," he said. "I'm happy with that."
During Wednesday's loss to the OKC Blue, Staten played 21 minutes, his most in three games with Delaware. Still, his court-time still represented his third-lowest to date this season.
"It's always difficult when you come into a new situation like this. There are different guys who you have to take time to learn how they play. You have to adjust your own game," Staten explained. "But the coaches have been straight forward with me and are communicating what they want. I'm trying to help to the best of my ability."
As fate would have it, he did in fact make the most of the minutes he received. Led by Sean Kilpatrick's 35 points, Delaware had a comfortable lead for much of the game before faltering late in the fourth. Staten was a big part of what went right for the 87ers, as evidenced by his his positive plus/minus. He dished out a team-leading (and surprising season-high) 8 assists, which made things much easier for Kilpatrick and Co. to pour in the points early on. As Staten aims to be a key cog in making Delaware's engine run smoothly, he knows what he will need to do to ensure he and his team find collective success.
"Just try to be a playmaker. [Delaware's] style of play really fits my type of game. We get up and down the court, set ball screens, and get a lot of paint touches. I'm just trying to get my teammates the ball. That's my concern, trying to be a change of pace guard and set others up," Staten said.
And as the Showcase continues, he can only hope to continue proving he can lead a team on the fast break rather nicely.
"It's time to focus. All of the NBA teams are out here, and you're playing against great players. You have a chance to put your skills on display," he conveyed. "With the feedback I've been getting, I'm just going to continue to go out there and play my game."