OAKLAND – Patrick McCaw is about as unimposing as they come. The rookie guard is kind of quiet, as rookies should be, and his physique is more scarecrow than rock.
That’s not stopping the Warriors from falling for the second-round draft pick from UNLV. He plays hard, exuding energy and instincts and intellect.
Two days into training camp, with an impressive Summer League showing behind him, McCaw already is on the edge of the playing rotation.
“He’s got to do it,” coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday, on Day 2 of training camp, “but from what I’ve seen in Summer League and the first couple days of practice, I wouldn’t hesitate to throw him out there in the heat of a game.”
McCaw, 20, enters the league with a reputation for embracing defense and fundamentals, as instilled by his father, Jeffery McCaw Sr. But Patrick, who averaged 14.7 points in his final season at UNLV, also has some offensive skills that could come in handy for a team reshaping its bench.
He ranked 10th among scorers in the Mountain West Conference but was fourth in assists. He is as comfortable with the ball as he is trying to steal it.
It’s enough to quickly catch the eye of veteran forward Andre Iguodala, who entered the NBA with similar skills.
“He’s a smart player; he knows how to play the game. He’s going to play,” Iguodala said. “You’ve got to get him (to be) consistent, get him to understand how important consistency is. Even though he may not be relied on, you never know when your number is going to be called, so it’s being ready at all times.
“But he’s definitely going to play. He’s a very smart player, can make the right reads. He’s ahead of the curve, as far as being a rookie.”
McCaw’s biggest drawback may be that physique. The St. Louis native is listed at 6-foot-7, 185 pounds – seven pounds short of slender Shaun Livingston. Will he be able to overcome that? The Warriors, who bought Milwaukee’s second-round pick to select McCaw, believe he will.
“He’s got a good feel,” Kerr said. “You kind of can tell, right away, from watching a guy if he has a feel for the game. And Patrick has a great feel for the game. He sees it, he feels it and he makes the right pass. He keeps the ball moving and makes good cuts. He’s very impressive young player, and we’re really high on him.”