5 Santa Cruz Warriors Players That Deserve an NBA Call-Up

Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
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Honorable Mentions

Santa Cruz Warriors
Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

I absolutely HATE slideshow posts; however, I do my best to ensure my work is as easy to read as possible, and there was little evidence to support why a regular scroll-down piece would make this any easier to comprehend. That said, nearly every slideshow post in online sports media starts with an “honorable mentions” slide, so here we are!

While I normally prefer having the honorable mentions slide at the end considering the fact honorable mentions are rarely anything more than participation medals used to cover the writer’s own ass much like an orator ends his appreciation speech with “Sorry if I missed you” or other similar phrases, I genuinely believe these four guys to be highly capable players with respectable NBA potential (in no particular order):

Alex Hamilton || G || 23 y.o. || 6’4″ || 195 lbs.

Hamilton averages 11.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.4 steals in 25.5 minutes. He’s played 19 games this season for the Warriors, shooting 44.2 percent from the field and 25.9 percent from behind the arc.

I’m EXTREMELY confident in saying that I believe we’ll see Hamilton on an NBA roster some time soon. He may need another offseason to further hone his skills, but his slashing ability and court vision have translated perfectly coming out of Louisiana Tech, and he’s demonstrated a willingness to be a staunch NBA defender at his position.

Hamilton is currently tied with floor general Phil Pressey for the best assist percentage on the team (30.7), which is also good enough for 10th in the D-League. Hamilton is also the best on his team in pure point rating (5.0), which has him tied for 10th overall in the D-League.

Other notable stats among his teammates: he leads his team in steal percentage (2.6), he’s second in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4), second in win percentage (68.4), second in player efficiency rating (PER: 17.5), and fifth in defensive rating (103.2).

Chris Obekpa || C || 23 y.o. || 6’9″ || 230 lbs.

Obekpa averages 3.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 12.3 minutes. He’s appeared in 17 games for Santa Cruz on 47.4 percent shooting from the field.

While his per game averages are certainly modest, it’d be a crime not to mention that he’s currently the team leader in defensive rating at 94.8, which ranks THIRD in the entire D-League. If you’re an NBA team in need of a defensive stopper in the paint, Obekpa is your guy.

He’s certainly raw in terms of creating his own offense, but his most memorable scoring moments have come off offensive rebounds. Ranked seventh among all D-League players in offensive rebounding percentage (15.0), he’s your typical clean up guy that isn’t afraid to go back up and put his defender on a poster.

Cameron Jones || G || 27 y.o. || 6’4″ || 185 lbs.

Jones averages 13.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.2 steals in 29.8 minutes. He’s played 25 games (15 starts) with Santa Cruz this season, shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from behind the arc.

Jones is a D-League veteran that has experience both in the NBA and overseas, and he would’ve made my top-5 were it not for two other guards occupying the two guard spots. He does a little bit of everything, and he’s played a pivotal role for Santa Cruz whether he’s a starter or coming off the bench.

Being productive regardless of the situation is a notable NBA skill in itself, and Jones has been in a number of different situations and remained a productive team player. In today’s NBA — especially if you’re the 15th guy on the roster — I think players like Jones deserve to be appreciated. Both Golden State and Santa Cruz epitomize that idea.

James Southerland || F || 26 y.o. || 6’8″ || 221 lbs.

Southerland currently averages 9.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 19.4 minutes. He’s relatively new to the squad having played just 11 games for Santa Cruz, but he’s shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from behind the arc (5.1 3PA).

Southerland is an incredibly effective sharpshooter. He’s one of the guys the Warriors look for when they’re desperate for a bucket. Apart from Elgin Cook and the big men, Southerland is one of the team leaders in field goal percentage.

I wouldn’t call him a prolific scorer by any stretch, but he’s efficient, as evidenced by the fact he’s tied for second on the team in PER (17.5), fourth in effective field goal percentage (57.8), and fourth in true shooting percentage (59.1). Santa Cruz picked him up because they needed a guy that could get buckets, and this dude straight up gets buckets.