When the Golden State Warriors signed Santa Cruz power forward James Michael McAdoo last month, some of us wondered whether we’d seen the last of the 6-foot-9 power forward.
After all, Golden State could have signed Santa Cruz Warrior McAdoo to a 10-day contract, as teams often do, or even just called him up to Oakland whenever they wanted him. Instead, Golden State signed him for the rest of the season. But McAdoo has played in all four Santa Cruz games since.
The message behind the signing, according to ESPN analyst Geoff Gilbert: Finder’s keepers.
“He’s a prospect. Why let him go?” Gilbert says.
Gilbert believes Golden State didn’t want another team to get to McAdoo first. So, Golden State locked down the young player, who’s still learning and growing his game.
Gilbert says that NBA-caliber players should put up big numbers in the D-League—which is just what McAdoo has been doing. The 22-year-old has been shooting 67 percent in Santa Cruz since his NBA signing.
Given his size, McAdoo looks like the kind of player Golden State might crave right now. After all, wannabe NBA analysts (cough, Charles Barkley) have been telling everyone the Warriors have no chance winning it all without another big man.
So, it’s easy to wonder if McAdoo is part of some big-man algorithm for Golden State’s playoff run. Not so, says Gilbert. McAdoo may get playing time, but the team would much rather lean on its experienced players down the stretch, he says.
Currently with a 46-12 record, the Golden State Warriors have been the hottest team in the NBA West all season. With the fourth-best record in the league, Santa Cruz doesn’t look too shabby either, especially when it gets help from McAdoo and company.
McAdoo isn’t the only player near the cusp of NBA play. Golden State Center Ognjen Kuzmić has spent some time with Santa Cruz. And at 7 feet, he too has dominated—grabbing a game-high 19 rebounds in a game last month and recording 6 blocked shots on March 1. Again, basically what we can expect from players good enough for the big leagues.
Of course, it bodes well for Golden State that it has extra players hanging out in Santa Cruz with enough talent to fill roster spaces if demand (a star’s injury, for instance) necessitates it.
More than that though, it’s great news for Santa Cruz’s Warriors when the Oakland team has so many solid players that it doesn’t even know what to do with all of them.