Summer League is here!
July is such a great time of year for the NBA because it's a time to showcase NBA rookie talents as well as to tryout veteran players who are trying to break into The League. Luckily, the Warriors Summer League roster is full of NBA rooks and NBA vets so we'll be able to see how well they mesh together. Not too many of these guys will make the final NBA roster but you never know who's going to have a breakout July. Let's sit back and enjoy the hoops!
Here are five Warrior players to keep on your radar over the next couple weeks.
1. C Ognjen Kuzmic
This 7 foot Serbian is quite the basketball champion. Drafted by the Warriors in 2012, Kuzmic has already accomplished a ton in his short time playing in the US. He won the 2015 NBA D-League Championship with the Santa Cruz Warriors and also the 2015 NBA Championship with their parent team in Oakland, even though he never saw the floor in the NBA postseason due to an ankle injury. He signed to play for Panathinaikos B.C. in Greece in 2016 and won the Greek Cup, the top cup competition in the Greek Basket League. He now returns to the NBA, albeit in the Summer League, to prove that he truly belongs in the best basketball league in the world.
2. SF Landry Fields
Fields is the oldest player on the Warriors Summer League roster — 28 years old — and has been through a lot in his young career. He started 81 games for the Knicks his rookie year alongside Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony and was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Unfortunately, a nerve injury in his elbow has slowed his NBA career almost to a halt and he was actually out of the league last season. Fields looks to rebound from a frustrating stint in Toronto (2013-2015) to make it back into the NBA.
3. PF Damian Jones
With Andrew Bogut’s injury history and Festus Ezeli becoming a free agent, the Warriors knew they needed to upgrade their big men through the Draft this year. They selected Damian Jones out of Vanderbilt with the 30th pick and it’s already looking like a great move. With the Kevin Durant signing, the Warriors needed to create cap space so they traded Bogut to the Mavericks and let Ezeli sign with the Trail Blazers. Jones won’t be the Warriors’ starter at center immediately, as they recently signed Zaza Pachulia and David West, but he will have the opportunity to fight for the job in the next few years.
4. SG Patrick McCaw
McCaw is another 2016 Warriors draft pick and he could turn out to be a great modern-day NBA player. He’s long (6’10” wingspan at 6’6” height) and has the potential to grow into a threat from three point range. McCaw, the 38th pick from UNLV, was actually bought from the Milwaukee Bucks for $2.4 million, which shows just how much the Warriors are invested in his potential as a slashing guard and defensive specialist. Golden State is currently stacked at the guard position — the Splash Bros — but I can see McCaw eventually growing into a backup role-player.
5. C Mamadou Ndiaye
If Ndiaye sees playing time in the NBA, he will become the second tallest person to ever step on the hardwood, at 7 feet, 6 inches tall. With an 8’1” wingspan, this guy is an absolute specimen and I can’t wait to see him on the floor. He is a very intriguing player because of his height and rim protecting abilities but his health and conditioning will be huge factors into whether he has a long NBA career. Tall players like Ndiaye have a tough time running up and down the court and the NBA landscape is leaning more towards quick, long outside gunners to play tons of minutes. Prove us all wrong, big guy!