It’s time for Golden State Warriors guard Patrick McCaw to shine

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Patrick McCaw
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Patrick McCaw /

With Stephen Curry out of commission, the opportunity for Patrick McCaw to help lead the Golden State Warriors has presented itself.

On Monday night, the Golden State Warriors won another game by double digits after trailing by over 20 to the New Orleans Pelicans. It was a great win except in the final minute when their superstar, Stephen Curry, sprained his right ankle.

This will hurt the Warriors because Curry makes this team to go and is arguably their most important player. It was revealed Tuesday that Curry will miss at least two weeks. He will re-evaluated at that time.

It has not been reported who will replace Curry in the lineup but chances are it will be Patrick McCaw. McCaw also suffered an injury in New Orleans when DeMarcus Cousins popped him in the face but he appears to be fine. The Warriors could go with the veteran, Shaun Livingston in Curry’s place but McCaw’s offensive game is much more versatile than Livingston’s. Plus, McCaw started in Curry’s place last month when he suffered a right hand contusion.

McCaw has shown remarkable improvement this season with his offensive game. His handles are much smoother, he is hitting the three-pointer with regularity and his court vision has improved. He is much more comfortable this season in Steve Kerr’s system, knowing when to cut, distribute or shoot the basketball. All of his skills were realized in his only start of the season.

In his only start, McCaw was impressive. He tallied 16 points, grabbed three rebounds, dished out seven assists and had four steals in a loss to the Sacramento Kings. He gave Warriors’ fans a glimpse of what he could become with consistent minutes and aggressive play. It was his best game as a pro and if the Warriors want to stay dominant, he will have to continue to play with that same aggression.

For most of the season, McCaw has been battling Nick Young for minutes at the backup shooting guard. With Curry’s injury, McCaw should see his minutes increase at the point guard position. McCaw is a natural point guard because he has a “pass-first” mentality. It is a blessing and a curse for the second-year player because he has a tendency of over-passing.

It makes perfect sense because McCaw, arguably, plays with four of the best 20 players in the league. But in Kerr’s system, if someone creates an open look, you have to take that shot. McCaw struggled with his concept last season but this season, he has been much more aggressive.

Another point guard quality that McCaw employs is his ability to penetrate and make plays for others. When he penetrates, he does not always finish at the rim but he always makes the right play. Whether it is hitting one of his shooters for an open jumper or dropping it off to a big for an easy dunk, McCaw rarely turns the ball over and can finish at the rim.

For a second year player, McCaw’s basketball IQ is off the charts. It probably helps that McCaw’s mentor is Andre Iguodala, the Warriors’ smartest player but McCaw’s poise has been evident since his rookie season. While McCaw’s offense has improved immensely, his defense may be better.

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If McCaw does replace Curry, the one advantage he will have over him is his defense. McCaw is 6’7” with a wingspan of 6’10”, which allows him to bother opposing point guards, either contesting jumpers or picking them clean. Like his mentor, Iguodala, he is great at playing the passing lane, making the Warriors that much better on defense.

We do not know if McCaw will start for Curry but if he gets that opportunity, he will shine. With the attention on the other three all-stars, McCaw should have the space to thrive in this offense. He’s in no way close to Curry’s skill level but McCaw will succeed and the Warriors will be better for it.