OAKLAND – Always on the hyperactive prowl, seeking action, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob didn’t need to be persuaded to spend $2.4 million to buy his way into the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft.
Four days after seeing his team lose the NBA Finals – blowing a 3-1 series lead – Lacob grabbed his checkbook and filled out a check to the Milwaukee Bucks.
That’s how Patrick McCaw became a Warrior.
Discovered by vice president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk and assistant general manager Larry Harris, McCaw was selected 38th overall on June 23.
“Everyone was excited when we had the opportunity to get him,” general manager Bob Myers recalled to CSNBayArea.com on Monday. “He was a name that had been discussed. We didn’t have to guess who we were taking. There were a lot of McCaw fans in the room.”
Little more than three months later, the Legend of Patrick McCaw already is growing.
“He’s got a lot of promise,” Stephen Curry said of the rookie. “He’s going to help us this year for sure. I like his confidence. He doesn’t say much; he’s very quiet. But when you see his body language, he looks like he belongs. That’s half the battle.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who over the summer told CSNBayArea.com that McCaw had a chance to make the team’s regular playing rotation, on Monday said it’s “very uncommon” for a rookie to have such a sense of space and movement.
“But some guys just have that feel, instinctively, naturally,” Kerr said. “You don’t even have to teach them. Some guys have feel, some guys don’t. The first time you see them play, it’s easy to tell. That’s been the case with him.”
McCaw was the most impressive Warrior in their preseason opener Saturday night, coming off the bench to produce 11 points, five steals and four assists in 19 minutes. The 6-foot-7, 185-pound guard from UNLV looks capable of playing either guard spot and exhibited strong defensive chops.
“Pat played really well, to no surprise,” Draymond Green said. “Pat’s been playing well in training camp and already had a great summer league. He really understands the game. As this season continues on . . . I think he’s going to help us out a lot.”
Said Kevin Durant: “He’s really good. He’s got a nice feel for the game. He doesn’t get rattled out there. He doesn’t let anybody speed him up. And he’s really good with his hands. We’re going to need him to keep playing that way.”
For McCaw, his solid first impressions are an outgrowth maintaining a balance between confidence and humility. He fully believes in his ability, but has plenty of room in his mind for criticism and growth.
The St. Louis native wasn’t an AAU star. He wasn’t a 5-star recruit or even a spectacular summer camp discovery.
“I wasn’t going to those showcases that other kids were going to in seventh and eighth grade, getting their names out there that early” he said. “I was one of those kids, just a local kid, working with my dad, continuing to hone my talent. Over the years, I just continued to get better. I stayed in the gym and stayed consistent. That’s what got me here.”
McCaw’s father, Jeffery McCaw Sr. is a major influence, as is former UNLV star Stacey Augmon, whose defensive intensity can be seen in the rookie. McCaw carries a bit of a chip on his shoulder from not being highly recruited.
“I’m one of those kids you really don’t know about, and it’s still that way,” he said. “It’s always probably going to be that way until people start to realize that I know and understand the game. That’s just always been part of my life. I’ve always been an underdog. I’ve always been under the radar. And I’ve always had to prove myself. So that’s a role I’m going to continue to take.”
If such attitude sounds familiar, think back a few years to another Warriors second-round pick. A guy named Draymond Green, taken 35th overall in 2012, who has blossomed into an All-Star.
“If he turns out as good as Draymond,” Myers said, “then we’ll have something.”