Rising Stock: Patrick McCaw

“People are gonna be sorry they didn’t draft him,” were the words of NBA legend Jerry West after the Golden State Warriors swooped-in to steal Patrick McCaw away from the Milwaukee Bucks for cash considerations following the 2016 draft.

After proving to be an extremely versatile threat at both ends of the floor in just his rookie season, I suspect that many teams not only realize that they missed the bus on this kid, but are also scheming as to how they can steal McCaw away after the upcoming season when he becomes a restricted free agent. Yes, a restricted free agent at the young age of 22. All due to some quirky rules of not being drafted in the first round — second round picks don’t come with a team option for the extra third or fourth years, so McCaw is somewhat in the driver’s seat moving forward and headed for a quicker than usual big payday being that he’s such a young player.

Patrick McCaw is easily the sixth best player on the Golden State Warriors at this very moment. The only reason I’m not ranking him above Andre Igoudala is because Iggy has the experience of understanding match-ups and reading the game better at this point in his career. Iggy also has a more NBA-proven physique to bang around with bigger players, something McCaw will develop over time, which will only add to his game.

Should McCaw deliver another stellar season following his rookie campaign, then the Warriors will have to make the tough decision of whether or not to match any offers that other teams present to their crown jewel. Not only do I believe that McCaw will exceed expectations during his sophomore year in the NBA, but I also suspect that teams will be lined-up around the corner for his services. That being said, I believe that the Warriors must re-sign McCaw by any means necessary, as he’s clearly the future of this franchise.

Having followed this kid closely throughout the season, it’s hard not to see both McCaw’s potential and a combination of other NBA player’s rolled into his wiry framed-game — a little bit of Kevin Durant with his length, Shaun Livingston with his patience and decision making, and Andre Igoudala with his defensive prowess. Not surprisingly, he resembles a combination of the guys he plays alongside on a nightly basis. It’s also not a surprise that these are the very guys that McCaw will soon replace in both Livingston and Igoudala, outstanding players in their own right.

I fully expect Patrick McCaw to end the 2017–2018 NBA season as the fifth starter, alongside Steph, KD, Klay and Draymond. His insertion into the starting lineup should happen sooner rather than later, sometime before the Warriors’ Christmas game, if not to start the season. I liken McCaw’s situation to that of baseball great Derek Jeter — he’s entered the league not knowing anything other than how to win and has the tools and awareness to lead the Warriors into the foreseeable future. My only hope for McCaw is that he upgrades his jersey number to something more than zero because his stock is rising quickly and he’s clearly worth more than any of us could have ever imagined.

(This article was originally published on July 27, 2017)