Because of Patrick McCaw’s continued absence, the Warriors needed to add an extra wing to their regular season roster. A few days ago, I thought Marcus Derrickson would snag that spot, but on Friday, the Warriors’ announced that they signed Alfonzo McKinnie to a two-year minimum deal and Derrickson to a two-way deal that would shuttle him back and forth between the G-League and the NBA.
Few expected McKinnie to make the Warriors’ roster when he was announced on the training camp roster. A six-foot-eight wing with athleticism in bunches, he’s still a fairly raw player at age twenty-six. But given the lack of wing depth on the roster—McCaw seems unlikely at this point to return, Jacob Evans is struggling, and Andre Iguodala will save his body for the postseason—McKinnie played well enough in preseason to earn the part.
McKinnie has worked incredibly hard to have earned a roster spot on the defending champions. After garnering little attention in either high school or college, McKinnie played internationally in Luxembourg and Mexico. He spent $175 of his own money to just try out with the Windy City Bulls in 2016 and quickly became one of the G-League’s best players.
McKinnie’s athleticism pops out immediately: he can dunk it from anywhere in the paint. Despite his thin frame, he’s a good rebounder and decent defender, even though he is a bit behind technically. Unfortunately, he lacks advanced ballhandling and shooting range, which limit his offensive upside.
Last year, McKinnie spent most of the year with the Toronto Raptors, playing mostly with their G-League affiliate. With over two years of G-League experience, McKinnie averaged 14.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game.
Alfonzo McKinnie can impact NBA games with his energy and athleticism. I think he can be a good fit defensively on the Warriors with his length and speed, but he’ll need to offer something offensively to stay on the court. Like a lot of wings, it’ll probably come down to his outside shot.
In McKinnie’s first year in the G-League, he hit only 30.8% of his threes, but last year, he upped that to 34.8% on decent volume. If he can continue improving his shot, he could become a valuable NBA player. Unfortunately, McKinnie has not shot well in the preseason: in a small sample, McKinnie has hit only 38.9% of his shots, one of his nine three-point attempts, and four of his twelve free-throw attempts. He’s going to have to do a lot better than that in the regular season.
Because of his athleticism and hustle, McKinnie is an interesting NBA prospect. But at age 26, he’s going to have to polish up his flaws as soon as possible. Hopefully, playing with the Warriors’ star talent can enhance his strengths and cover his weaknesses. Because of the lack of wings on the roster, he could play decent minutes right away.