The Golden State Warriors' D-League affiliate Santa Cruz Warriors were crowned the 2014-15 NBA D-League Champions after sweeping the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in a best-of-three series. Elliot Williams of the Warriors was named the D-League Finals MVP.
Santa Cruz had lost two consecutive times in the D-League Championship. However, this season they were tied with the best record of 35-15 in the D-League and much like their parent club, Santa Cruz ranked first in defensive rating and assist percentage according to NBA D-League.com.
Led by Elliot Williams' 31 points and Ognjen Kuzmic's 18-point, 13-rebound double-double, Santa Cruz came back from an early deficit to top Fort Wayne 119-115 on the road.
James Michael McAdoo rejoins Santa Cruz and a team effort powers the Warriors to a 109-96 series clinching victory.
Darington Hobson dropped 22 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four three-pointers.
Kuzmic had another double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. He also added three blocks.
In his return to Santa Cruz, McAdoo posted 21 points and seven boards.
Williams poured in 23 points along with five assists and five rebounds.
In the past couple years, the NBA D-League has become a growing source for NBA talent. With a record number of call-ups each year, the D-League is a route for undrafted rookies and unsung veterans to make the journey to the big league as well as a tool for developing young talent acquired via the draft.
This year was no different as there were a record 63 call-ups involving 47 players. Some notable call-ups include Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside, Philadelphia 76ers swingman Robert Covington, New York Knicks guard Langston Galloway and Los Angeles Lakers guard Jabari Brown.
With 17 teams already entered into a single affiliation partnership, it may be necessary to fix the NBA's farm system.The Santa Cruz Warriors have a bunch of familiar names, young talent and it would make complete sense to develop these players.
From Golden State's very own Kuzmic and McAdoo to the NBA D-League Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Craft and Blake Griffin's brother Taylor Griffin, this is just the beginning of the Golden State - Santa Cruz partnership.