The Dubs remain winless in the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League after dropping a close first game against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Cavaliers won all but the last quarter of this forgettable game, meaning the Warriors will add one point to their 2.5 quarter points on the Summer League season.
Despite some flashes of brilliance, the Warriors on balance looked dull in this blowout loss. The Dubs shot 32.9 percent from the field, making just five of their 24 attempts from beyond the arc. The Warriors’ starters shot 23 percent from the floor compared to 45 percent from the Cavaliers’ starters. Only two Warriors finished with double-digit points while four Cavaliers reached that mark, led by Brandon Paul who finished with a game-high 21 points.
While the players are obviously trying to win every game, and as a fan, a victory is preferred to a lopsided defeat, the utility of summer league for the Warriors extends beyond the final score. Consider these games a sandbox for someone like Patrick McCaw to freely practice parts of his games in an intense, competitive setting that he may not find every night of the regular season. For raw prospects like Jordan Bell and Damian Jones, who is playing in his first summer league after missing last year’s due to injury, this provides a chance to play hard, make mistakes, and gain some valuable learning opportunities.
Although he finished the game with just nine points on 20 percent shooting, Patrick McCaw had a handful of dazzling offensive possessions. Channeling his inner Markelle Fultz, McCaw pulled out the hesi pull-up jimbo and put his defender on the floor, though he was unable to convert the jumper. Though his stat line wasn’t picturesque and he had a game low -23, McCaw played with a confidence that simply wasn’t there during stretches of the regular season. His handle has improved, and though he missed five of his six attempts from beyond the arc, he is willing to take the open shot, which is a necessity of the Warriors system.
Patrick McCaw has played with a certain swagger during this summer league that is a welcome development in his game. Perhaps this is a function of playing on a court that was very much his domain during his time at UNLV, but do not discount the confidence gained from providing value, however nominal, to a championship run. He will certainly modulate that when he plays in a lineup where he is asked to do less, but the experience gained from playing high-stakes finals minutes will stick with him no matter how small his role.
The Warriors’ recent 38th draft pick Jordan Bell had several impressive moments during the loss, demonstrating a combination of defensive versatility and vision that have drawn early comparisons to Draymond Green. While he is a long ways away from getting on the reigning-DPOY’s level in either regard, Bell certainly has the skillset and the Warriors have proven themselves adept at getting the best out of talent. Several passes Bell made tonight would have been certain assists if to a different caliber of player, and lucky for the University of Oregon product, the caliber of talent in Golden State is supreme in the NBA.
Damian Jones might be the rawest of the Warriors young talent, and it seemed as though the game is still a touch fast for the quasi-rookie. After missing much of the critical team-building and practice time last summer due to a pectoral injury, Jones received spot minutes during the NBA season. This is his first summer league and it shows, as he racked up six fouls in 21 minutes of action and had several passes bounce off his hands. His athleticism is undeniable, as he gets off the ground like a pogo stick and his long wingspan means he has the toolbox to recreate some of the offense generated by JaVale McGee. While Jones has some work to do to reach that point, he will benefit tremendously from a full summer practice schedule with the team.