When the Golden State Warriors drafted Patrick McCaw 38th overall, they knew they were getting something special. Executive board member and Lakers great Jerry West has said repeatedly “People are gonna be sorry they didn't draft him.” Following Summer League, its looking like he could be right.
After averaging 15.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and two steals while shooting 46.7 percent from the floor and 38.2 percent from deep, McCaw put himself in the conversation for some actual minutes his rookie year. They will be incredibly hard to come by given the Warriors are the top team in the West and players like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Sean Livingston, and Phil Pressey are ahead of him on the roster. With the team making it clear he is in their long-term plans, it would be best to send him to the Santa Cruz Warriors to develop as a player.
In Summer League, McCaw showcased exactly what he did during his time at UNLV. Standing at 6’7”, he is a long and lanky combo guard that is extremely versatile. His assist numbers weren't too high, but he does have good vision and awareness for his height. What he does best right now is shoot from deep and defend at a high level, two things that the Warriors value above all else. Even though he was impressive, there are some things that need work.
McCaw’s biggest flaws are his decision making, consistency, and lack of strength. In five games played, he averaged 12 shots per game. Of those 12, almost seven of them were from deep. If he wants a role in the Warriors offense, he is going to need to cut down on wild threes and learn how to make an impact without taking a lot of shots.
He is also known to gamble on defense and commit unnecessary fouls. His long arms are great for interrupting passing lanes, but also make it easy to pick up reach-in fouls. He had more steals than fouls only once in five Summer League games played. His gambling sometimes pays off, his high steal numbers are proof of that, but it also brings him out of position and results in easy baskets for the opposing team.
These are issues that can be solved with playing time but given he is on a championship level roster, he won't be seeing the court too often. What the Warriors should do is send him to Santa Cruz and let him gain more experience there. He will only be an hour and 45 minutes away from the practice facility and under the watchful eye of Steve Kerr. Plus, they could also experiment with his versatility in the D-League.
McCaw is an above-average facilitator, especially running the pick and roll. If he can clean up his handles and make smart choices on the court, the Warriors could try to mold him into a 6’7” point guard. Having someone that tall, who could also defend three to four positions and shoot lights-out running the second unit, sounds like every head coach’s dream.
If McCaw plays his cards right, he could end up like Josh Richardson or Norman Powell. Both players were able to use the D-League as a place to not only showcase what they could do when given playing time, but also adjust to the speed and style of play that comes with professional basketball. After time in the D-League, they were both able to become impact players for playoff teams.
There is no question that McCaw belongs on the Warriors roster. However, saying he could use some time in the D-League is in no way a knock to his game. If he spends 15-20 games in Santa Cruz, he will be much further along in his development and confidence level as opposed to sitting at the end of the bench and playing a sporadic eight minutes of garbage time. Sean Livingston isn't a spring chicken anymore, Klay Thompson doesn't have a true backup. If McCaw can become more consistent and add to his wiry frame, he could fill a major role for a championship level team.