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Warriors forward Draymond Green let out a loud scream in the third quarter of the Warriors 121-102 win over the Utah Jazz.
The outburst wasn’t a result of his own play, but an and-1 bucket from second-year guard Patrick McCaw in front of the team’s bench to put the Warriors up by 18 points.
Green’s exuberance showed both his excitement and the Warriors’ delight in McCaw’s continued growth.
I think Draymond liked it…McCawwwww pic.twitter.com/FP5NTGdYTX
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 28, 2017
In the win, McCaw scored 18 points, and pulled down 4 rebounds, helping pick up the slack in Stephen Curry’s absence.
The performance shed light on what the team has been hoping to see out of the second year guard. Surrounded by some of the best shooters in NBA history, McCaw typically takes on the role of defending the best players on the opposing team, using his long arms to get steals, while working the passing lanes. Still, the Warriors coaching staff and players alike have urged the young guard to do more on the offensive end.
“Scoring is sort of a secondary thought,” coach Steve Kerr said We are trying to get him as aggressive as possible. He plays his best when he is looking to score like he did tonight.”
“The past few games a lot of the guys have been telling me to be aggressive,” McCaw said. “To go out there and have fun and that kind of sticks with me to have guys like Andre [Igoudala, Steph [Curry], K[evin Durant], and Draymond [Green] telling you to go out there and play your game.”
“These last few games, a lot of teams have been daring him to shoot and they’ve been opening at the wings and not really guarding him,” Kevin Durant said. “We told him last game to be aggressive, so he drove a couple times last game, put the pressure on the defense. And tonight, he just took it to another level.”
McCaw has shown the ability to score in spurts throughout his young career. In game 2 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals, McCaw scored 18 points and 5 assists off the bench. In an effort to build on his rookie season, McCaw churned out three-a-days at UNLV’s practice facility this summer, working on his shot, and ball handling in an effort to build his all-around offensive repertoire.
The work paid off as McCaw averaged 20 points on 45% shooting in the 2017 NBA Summer League. McCaw’s offensive timidness this season, however, comes from the guard’s effort to strike a balance between shooting open looks and getting Thompson, Curry, and Durant the ball.
“They’re the best players in the world,” McCaw said. “I think it’s more of a thought process for me being a young guy. I haven’t really established myself in this league and these guys are prolific scorers, All-Stars, superstars. I mean kids look up to them.
The next step in McCaw’s evolution, perhaps, may be in encapsulated in one word: balance.
“To have the opportunity to play with them and just find my niche with this team, I think it’s been the biggest step for me.”
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