Let’s start by being a cynic and making something clear: the Golden State Warriors probably aren’t going to sign Mac McClung. And that’s probably a good thing.
If that upsets you, then hop in your handy dandy garage time machine, and head back to August of last year, when the 2021 Las Vegas Summer League took place.
The Warriors had Mac McClung on their team that year, too. Except back then his name was “Kyle Guy.”
Guy showed out for the Warriors. He fit the system. He made a bunch of threes. He moved fluidly and played better than their high-profile rookies.
I was at Summer League that year, and wrote about how Guy should be on a two-way contract at the least.
He wasn’t. His Summer League stint was the start and end of his Warriors journey. He wouldn’t play in an NBA game for any team until New Year’s Eve, and played fewer than 200 minutes all season long.
Because Summer League can be a bit deceiving.
McClung made his NBA debut a year ago, appearing in exactly one game for the Chicago Bulls and then exactly one game for the Los Angeles Lakers. And now he’s on the Dubs Summer League roster, where he’s been putting on a show.
He had 17 points in their Vegas opener, shooting 7-for-13 from the field and making all three of his shots from beyond the arc. He had 22 points in their second game. He has 14 assists through three games.
If you’re unfamiliar with McClung, he became an internet sensation in high school for his high-flying, emphatic dunks and streetball moves, which were notable in large part because he looked like a Junior College second baseman.
Which is to say he’s diminutive, white, and, if you were to stereotype, would look more at home on a ranch than in a gym.
The reputation followed him to college, where he proved that he could play basketball really well — even though he was always going to be best known for his highlights that were equal parts eye-popping and unexpected.
The Warriors aren’t exactly in the market for an inexperienced 6’2 guard, unless they play Gary Payton II-esque defense which, last I checked, McClung did not.
But there’s always the chance that they see something in him that suggests the Summer League performance is more than just a Summer League performance. I’m imagining Bob Myers taking McClung’s glasses off, letting down his hair, and taking him on a shopping spree like the nerdy-girl-turned-sex-icon in every coming-of-age 90s romcom.
And if that is the case ... can you imagine the takes?
With another shiny Larry O’Brien trophy for their fast-filling case, the Warriors have returned to “ruin the league” status.
When Donte DiVincenzo invariably becomes one of the league’s elite role players this year, NBA fans will groan. When one (or two, or three...) of James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, Patrick Baldwin Jr., and Ryan Rollins turns into this year’s Jordan Poole, NBA fans will roll their eyes and pout.
If McClung, the YouTube star whose manager has sent me more PR emails in the last year than he’s played minutes in the NBA, turns into a bonafide, high-quality NBA role player on the Warriors of all teams?
The Warriors almost surely won’t sign him. But if they do, it will be for a good reason.
And damn, that reason would be fun.