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Warriors finish 2-3 in 2014 LVSL: Kiwi Gardner shines

In another rather listless effort from the Golden State Warriors, their Summer League campaign ended with a thud. But there were bright spots regardless, namely Kiwi Gardner.

"One day {Coach Casey Hill} told me we weren't going to work out in Santa Cruz but we were going to ride up to Golden State and workout. And then {Kirk Lacob} just came over and told me about Summer League."

The footage of D-League fan favorite Kiwi Gardner blew up when the rare honest reaction nearly took out Kirk Lacob's torso. On a roster with so many players, there wasn't much of a chance Gardner would find much playing time. He played right under 14 minutes per game for the Santa Cruz Warriors and just a look in Vegas was as good as it gets for the 5'7" dynamo.

But Summer League for Gardner isn't so much for the pleasure of soaking in the sights as much as learning from players and coaches that have much to offer.

"Guy like Aaron Craft, he has so much to offer. I kind of pattern myself after him. I been working with Nemanja Nedovic all year. He's getting me focused on my reads more, slowing down, and coming off screens better."

Gardner is not only the most excitable guy on the bench, standing up towel-waving even with his team down 20, but he's prepared when called upon. It says a lot of Gardner that guards ahead of him in the depth chart but relatively in the same situation, are so willing to help him in. Gardner trains several times a week in the offseason with Nedovic and the D-League coaches, working for today.

"Ron Adams is a mastermind on defense. It's tough because of the terminology he's using is different. Coach Alvin Gentry's knowledge if off the charts. And Steve Kerr is a five-time champion. Jarron Collins is there. Luke Walton is there. That's a lot of basketball in that room."

It all culminated in a 15-minute, eight point performance capped by several sprawling finishes between and over larger defenders. Still a scorer-first, Gardner speaks more about his development as a passer and understander of the game. Summer League isn't about showing off what he's great at - not with these minutes, at least - but the ability to learn from the best.

So far, so good.

Kiwi Gardner isn't ruling out a trip overseas but for now, he's ready to go back to work after some courses in the big leagues.

Game Notes:

1) Steve Kerr postgame: "They whole key here is to get guys playing time and exposure."

Kerr used the entire Summer League for as much evaluation purposes than winning reasons. Kerr didn't call timeouts or play Nedovic over 30 minute a game. After the Warriors entire existence in Summer League as perpetual victors, they fell into a bottomless pit of stagnant offenses, lackadaisical defense, and most importantly, lesser talent. There isn't a single player on this roster that will play rotation minutes for the Warriors next season and I think the Warriors prefer it that way.

2. The next Warriors-related news will likely be the end of the Kevin Love saga or Stephen Curry's role on Team USA. Training camp is held between July 28-August 1.

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