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Warriors Two-Way Prospect Quinn Cook Shining In Early G League Play

Editor Dakota Schmidt breaks down Quinn Cook’s incredible start to the season with the Santa Cruz Warriors.

NBA: Preseason-Atlanta Hawks at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Note: As you’ve might’ve noticed, the amount of content on this site has rapidly lessened during the last week. That’s largely due to me taking a temporary break due to just crumbling under the large amount of pressure that it takes to run a site on a day-by-day basis. The stress becomes even greater when you factor in the lack of a pay that comes from running an incredibly niche SBNation site, which makes it difficult to bring in a consistent staff of contributors. While my love for the G League will never truly go away and it really sucks to do this during the middle of a season, I’m going to temporarily pull back a bit to just evaluate my options moving forward.

So rather than seeing pieces every day, the content will be more sparse in the immediate future but still not as barren as it has been in the past 7 days. In conclusion, I appreciate everyone that’s taken the time to read Ridiculous Upside articles and follow us on Twitter and Facebook over the past few years. I also hope that you continue to read this site no matter whose name is in the byline. Stay tuned everybody and now lets get into Quinn Cook!

As someone that has spent the last five years of his life basically obsessing over the NBA G League, there’s handful of things that regularly frustrate me. Some of the most obvious reasons include the ridiculously low pay that G Leaguers get and the consistent issues that come with their Facebook Live streams.

While not as prevalent, the most exasperating part about being a G League fan is how small of a leash that most players get when they get called up to the NBA. Obviously, it’s understandable how a lot of NBA coaches are hesistent to give those call-ups an immediate role within their team’s rotation, as you don’t know how a particular player react to going against better competition. This frustration has more to do with the teams that just decide to give up on a certain G League call-up when they’ve actually been pretty decent against NBA competition.

Probably the best example of this comes from Quinn Cook, who has arguably stood as the best point guard in the entire G League since his debut with the Canton Charge. Over the course of a fantastic 2016-17 season where he put up 26 points, 4 rebounds and 6.7 assists on 47% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc, Cook received multiple call-ups from the Mavericks and Pelicans.

Cook actually impressed in his limited time with both teams. In a combined 14 games in the NBA, Cook put up 5.6 points and 1.9 assists on 51% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc in only 13 minutes per game. Cook’s stint in the NBA was headlined by him putting up 22 points on 10-13 from the field and 2-3 from beyond the arc in a mid-April matchup against the Golden State Warriors when he was a member of the Pelicans.

Despite Cook’s solid play wasn’t enough for him to remain on the Pelicans roster as they waived him in late June. While the Pelicans waived him for financial reasons, it was still annoying to see someone that played solid ball not get much of an opportunity within that organization.

Before training camp started, the Atlanta Hawks added him onto their training camp roster. While it initially looked like he had a chance to make the roster, however a rough preseason combined with the sheer presence of Isaiah Taylor and two-way prospect Josh Magette gave the Hawks an opportunity to push him out the door at the end of training camp.

When it seemed like all hope was lost, the Warriors swooped in on October 17th to sign him to a two-way deal. While it was great that Cook only had to wait three days between his removal from the Hawks to signing with Golden State, it seemed like a step down for someone that shined with the Pelicans just four months prior. While it my seem like a step down, this move was yet another opportunity for Cook to truly prove that he’s worthy of being in the NBA.

Although the G League season is incredibly young, Cook is definitely proving his worth with the Santa Cruz Warriors. During the team’s initial five games, Cook has been phenomenal as he’s averaged 27 points, 8.3 assists, 5.3 rebounds on 52% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc on 6.2 perimeter attempts per game. Those great averages has pushed him to maintain an incredible 65% True Shooting Percentage.

While Cook may currently be a lot more efficient than he was in previous years, these numbers isn’t really different than what we’ve seen from him. However, when you actually watch him play, it seems like Cook is a lot more energized and focus than he was in previous years. I think that increased concentration is most evident when Cook’s working as a facilitator in pick-and-rolls. Alongside that, his handles just seem to be tighter as he’s more capable of just crossing a dude up or just driving right past him than he was during his time with the Charge.

So where do those improvements lead Cook moving forward? At this point, it seems like Cool will spend the majority of the season with Santa Cruz, where he might actually be the favorite to be a G League MVP. While he could technically spend up to 45 days with Golden State, the team’s point guard rotation seems to be in great shape with Stephen Curry and Shaun Livingston.

No matter how good Cook might do, there’s no way that Kerr would play him over a 2x NBA MVP and arguably their best 2nd unit player. So until one of those players get injured, Cook will probably remain in Santa Cruz. While that lack of an NBA opportunity might be frustrating from him, there’s no doubt that he’s in a better situation financially than in year’s past.Alongside that, G League fans will continue to have an opportunity to watch one of the most entertaining guards that the league has ever seen.