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Ranking all of Steph’s teammates: #22 — Willie Cauley-Stein

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The 2019-20 Warriors were bad, but Cauley-Stein was better than he got credit for.

Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

During his time with the Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry has had 106 teammates who have appeared in at least one game. Some played in exactly one game, while others played in hundreds. Some never actually played in a game that Curry was active for, while others formed historically great partnerships with him.

And I’m ranking all 106 of them before a new season starts and he adds to the tally. Better get a move on.

Players are ranked — and stats are shown — based only on their time as Curry’s teammate. How good/bad they were in other organizations doesn’t matter. How good/bad they were on pre-2009-10 Warriors teams doesn’t matter.


#22 — Willie Cauley-Stein

Minnesota Timberwolves v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Games: 41 (62nd out of 106)
Points per game: 7.9 (T-35th out of 106)
Rebounds per game: 6.2 (T-9th out of 106)
Assists per game: 1.5 (T-42nd out of 106)

Willie Cauley-Stein played 41 games with the Warriors, and he shared the court with Steph Curry for only one of them: a late October, 2019 game against the Phoenix Suns, in which Cauley-Stein returned from an injury and Curry left with one.

He’ll go in the basket labeled “forgotten Warriors,” and his tenure was one of bad luck. He was signed to play the JaVale McGee role for the Warriors, but after injuries stripped the team of Curry, and dramatically impacted Draymond Green and Kevon Looney, Golden State was left at the bottom of the standings. Cauley-Stein had spent his whole career on the bottom-feeding Sacramento Kings, and 2019-20 was supposed to be his chance to finally be on a good team. Instead, it didn’t happen (until the Warriors traded him to the Dallas Mavericks, that is).

Cauley-Stein wasn’t good enough to lead a horrendous Warriors roster out of the sewer, but few players would have been. That shouldn’t let us forget that he was actually pretty decent. His per 36 minutes stats were a super solid 12.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.9 blocks, and 1.7 steals. He was a moderately efficient scorer — not as good as you would want from a center, but that surely would’ve been different with a competent offense, especially one with Curry.

But his real mark was on the defensive end. Cauley-Stein’s defensive contributions are overlooked because the Warriors team was absolutely dreadful on that end of the court. It wasn’t his fault though. He graded out exceptionally well on that end of the court by all advanced metrics, and while many fans disagreed watching him, it felt accurate to me.

I wish we could have seen Cauley-Stein contribute to a good Warriors team, though fans and the organization are justifiably excited about the team’s current prospects at center. The timing just sadly didn’t work out.

With fewer than 30 players left, I’m going to start listing the remaining names in alphabetic order, to help out with determining whether someone is properly ranked. Here they are:

Leandro Barbosa, Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Marquese Chriss, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, Monta Ellis, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Damion Lee, David Lee, Shaun Livingston, Kevon Looney, Corey Maggette, JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia, D’Angelo Russell, Klay Thompson, David West, Andrew Wiggins, Dorell Wright

Poll

What do you think of Willie Cauley-Stein’s ranking?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    He was better than #22
    (6 votes)
  • 15%
    #22 is about right
    (21 votes)
  • 80%
    He was worse than #22
    (113 votes)
140 votes total Vote Now