It’s been a couple of months since the Warriors made it clear there was no room on the roster for Dominic McGuire. Last season, McGuire seemed like a valuable member of the Warriors. (Of course, whether anyone’s value can really be gauged on a team that is actively trying to lose games is another question for another time.)
However you slice it, McGuire proved he was capable of playing hard, defending a few different positions effectively and rebounding very well for his position. And at just 26, he’s relatively young. So why did it take until the second week of September for another NBA team to snatch him up?
Well, for starters, McGuire’s a player with some pretty glaring flaws. He absolutely cannot score the basketball, as evidenced by his ranking in the bottom quarter of NBA players in offensive points per play. The only reason he was even usable—from an advanced offensive statistics perspective—was because he was most frequently used offensively on plays Synergy Sports (just pay for the subscription; it’s worth it) defines as “cuts.” As you might imagine, cutting players score on a higher percentage of plays than on any other play type. They get a running start, receive the ball from a passer and either finish without a challenge or force the defense to foul.
If the Warriors hadn’t limited McGuire’s offensive touches to high-percentage plays so often (19.3 percent of the time—almost twice as often as he was allowed to spot up), his overall offensive efficiency would have been almost the very worst in the NBA.
That major wart aside, McGuire really does have value, if last year’s defensive stats are any indication. He was in the top five percent of all NBA players as an isolation defender. Couldn’t that be useful to a team that was going to run into a big scoring wing or a quick power forward? You’d certainly think so.
In a league that is increasingly focusing on market inefficiencies (the NBA’s only about 15 years behind the MLB in this regard) to build teams, it sure seems like a savvy organization would have signed McGuire much sooner, knowing he has a very specific, and rare, value.
In the end, it seems like McGuire’s offensive limitations were too substantial for most NBA teams to take a run at him during free agency. The Toronto Raptors ultimately brought him on board, and if they use him correctly—as a defensive stopper and nothing else—they’ll be pretty happy with their decision.