[dropcap]G[/dropcap]olden State Warriors shooting guard Patrick McCaw was in Santa Cruz last night and pinned the team’s 105-99 loss on himself.
“Coming down here, I just really don’t want the team to lose. I take this loss. I could have done a lot more,” said McCaw, who had specifically requested an assignment on the Santa Cruz Warriors, an affiliate of Golden State, hoping to shake off the cobwebs and work on his game.
While the sophomore guard felt happy to get his feet wet again and see more game time, he rated his play at a five out of 10—a harsh grade for someone who finished with 22 points, eight rebounds and two assists. The Friday, Feb. 9 match was also the first game this season that Golden State Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob came down to see in person, as he tries to keep tabs on the Santa Cruz team. The team is now 18-17 and riding a three-game losing streak.
McCaw, who has seen his efficiency slump at Golden State this year, started last night’s game slow, with 1 for 5 shooting in the first quarter.
“I tend to start games slowly, but that’s because I’m trying to really pick apart everything, from the opposing team to my team,” said McCaw, who expects to play in Santa Cruz again on Sunday, Feb. 11, against the South Bay Lakers. “I was just getting a feel for everybody, and I slowly did, and I felt a lot more comfortable with our guys. For me, I was just trying to pick apart the defense and make reads out of the pick and roll, knowing when to come up and knock down shots. I’m definitely getting back [to] comfortable, using my mind and being out there playing that many minutes. It’s all gonna come back to me.”
NBA players don’t normally seek game time at the development-league level, but that may change.
After struggling point guard Isaiah Thomas returned from a hip surgery this year, analyst Brian Windhorst suggested that he should have made his debut at a lower level before returning to the NBA, and fellow ESPN writer Zach Lowe recently said he doesn’t know why there’s a stigma against NBA players spending time at a lower-level team, especially considering how baseball players do it all the time. Lowe predicted that stigma would change in a few year years.
McCaw says he doesn’t know why that stigma exists, but such perceptions don’t bother him. “It takes a guy who knows where he wants to be. I know where I want to be two or three years from now, so I can’t slow down for anybody,” says McCaw, who attributes his second-year struggles at Golden State to inconsistent playing time and an inability to rind a rhythm.
Santa Cruz had the game’s better players in Friday night’s game—with not only McCaw, but also Golden State backup center Damian Jones and point guard Quinn Cook, who is playing on a two-way contract, that’s designed to split his time between Santa Cruz and Golden State.
But the Legends, who were without their top two scorers, played with more hustle and a stronger team effort. “No question,” said coach Aaron Miles. “They were down guys, and they said, ‘You know what, we’re gonna do it together.’”
The Legends outscored the Warriors in every quarter, but the third.
Santa Cruz Warriors GM Kent Lacob, who sat courtside next to his dad Joe for the game, said he and the Warriors owner spent most of the game talking basketball. He said he and his dad view the Santa Cruz and Golden State teams as one organization, so it’s helpful when guys from the NBA team come down to see how things are going.
“We do have that family atmosphere,” Kent Lacob said. “It’s good, and I think the guys appreciate it, to know that people are watching and they care about their progress.”