Tag: Aaron Craft

2014 NBA Golden State Warriors Media Day Images

Shaun Livingston’s injury has Warriors considering bring Andre Iguodala off bench

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The Warriors just can’t find a backup point guard.

They traded for Jordan Crawford last season, and when he didn’t work out, they traded for Steve Blake, who also underwhelmed.

Their key offseason addition, Shaun Livingston, got hurt – and it seems his injury will keep him out on the long end of projections.

Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle:

If Livingston can’t play, the main point guard options behind Stephen Curry are Nemanja Nedovic (who played sparsely as a rookie last season) and Aaron Craft (acquired as an undrafted free agent). Needless to say, that’s pretty underwhelming.

But Andre Iguodala can distribute, and he might get a role that allows him to do so.

Mike Trudell of Lakers.com:

Although Iguodala would probably work well with the second unit, I’m quite fond of Golden State’s starting lineup and wouldn’t rush to break it up. This could be the Warriors creating a bigger problem to solve their backup-point guard dilemma.

Here’s how the Warriors’ other four starters – Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee and Andrew Bogut – performed with Iguodala or Barnes last season:

Lineup Offensive rating Defensive rating Net rating
With Iguodala 112.4 97 +15.4
With Barnes 97.3 102.8 -5.5

Bringing Iguodala off the bench might be necessary if neither Nedovic nor Craft can handle a rotation role, but it’d be my last resort. And if it’s necessary, I’d rather start Draymond Green – a better defender (and maybe player) than Barnes.

But the goal, regardless of who starts, still should be playing Iguodala frequently with Curry, Thompson, Lee and Bogut. That unit is just too reliably good to disband.

Warriors sign James Michael McAdoo, Mitchell Watt

North Carolina v Duke

James Michael McAdoo went to North Carolina as a likely one-and-done player. He returned for his sophomore year and was viewed as a potential No. 1 overall draft pick. By the end of that season, his stock had fallen to mid-first round, and he returned to school once again.

Finally, after a lackluster junior year, McAdoo actually turned pro this year.

He went undrafted.

McAdoo caught on with the Warriors summer league team and – like Aaron Craft, who signed previously – drew a Golden State contract.

Warriors team release:

The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent guard Aaron Craft, along with free agent forwards James Michael McAdoo and Mitchell Watt to contracts, the team announced today.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Undrafted free-agent forward James Michael McAdoo signed a one-year contract paying the minimum with the Golden State Warriors, his agent James Tanner told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday.

Rusty Simmons of SFGate:

Each player’s contract is partially guaranteed, depending on how long he sticks with the Warriors.

Golden State has just 13 players with guaranteed contracts. So, there’s a chance Craft, McAdoo and/or Watt, who went undrafted in 2012 out of Buffalo and has spent the last two years in Israel, could make the final roster.

Even if those three get waived, though, the Warriors could assign them to their D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors. Any NBA team could sign the players, but Golden State would have an inside track on developing them.

McAdoo, particularly, has a lot of raw talent. So, keeping him close could pay off if he’s a late bloomer. Most likely, though, he’s an athlete who just doesn’t have NBA-level skills.

But he – and Craft and Watt – will get a chance to prove themselves in training camp. Afterward, they’ll continue on their NBA contracts or likely have D-League jobs waiting. And no matter where they begin next season, they’ll have whatever guaranteed money Golden State offered here.

Warriors sign Aaron Craft to partially guaranteed contract

Aaron Craft

With a strong top eight players – Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee, Andrew Bogut, Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and Shaun Livingston – and a mandate to improve on last season’s playoff berth, the Warriors could use a little more back-end depth.

It hasn’t been a banner few days for Golden State’s reserves. Marreese Speights was arrested for DUI, and Nemanja Nedovic fractured his foot.

So, the Warriors will seek a boost from another source.

Diamond Leung of the San Jose Mercury News:

Undrafted point guard Aaron Craft signed a one-year, partially guaranteed contract with the Warriors on Wednesday after playing for their NBA Summer League team, according to agent Lance Young.

Golden State had only a minimum contract to offer, which is all the undrafted Craft could have commanded anyway. That partial guarantee is key, a real signal the Warriors plan to keep him. With Hilton Armstrong getting waived, they now have 14 players under contract.

Craft, who spent four years at Ohio State getting praised for his leadership, was a lockdown defender in college. But it’s unclear whether his clutching and grabbing will fly in the NBA and how well he can defend without those tactics.

The bigger question: Can Craft contribute at all offensively? He’s a notoriously shaky shooter, and at 6-foot-2, he needs to show point-guard skills he never did with the Buckeyes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Craft spend a lot of time in the D-League, but fortunately for him, he’ll be doing so on an NBA salary.

PBT NBA Draft Preview: Top 10 point guards

Oklahoma State v Kansas State

This year continues the trend — there are a couple of potentially very good point guards at the top of the 2014 NBA draft, but they are more in the shoot first category. Think more Derrick Rose in style than Mike Conley. They are guys that will have to adapt their game some to the NBA. You have to go down the list for game managers. What you have to like as a fan (or a coach or a GM) is that this is a good defensive group.

PBT’s draft expert Ed Isaacson of NBADraftBlog.com and Rotoworld is breaking down the draft for us by position, and we are starting with the guy with the ball in his hands, the point guards.

You will not see Dante Exum on this list — Isaacson believes Exum’s future in the NBA is as a two guard who can create shots, not as a point. It’s a bit of a blurred distinction, but frankly traditional positional play in the NBA is fading anyway.

Here are our Top 10:

1. Marcus Smart, Sophomore, Oklahoma State, 6’3, 227
Smart’s return for his sophomore season solidified him as the top point guard in this draft class. Carrying a big scoring load for the Cowboys hid a lot of his distributing ability, but he is very good at finding open teammates, especially when he gets into the defense. Speaking of defense, Smart is arguably the best defender in this draft, capable of guarding multiple positions and forcing opponents into mistakes. Perimeter shooting issues have been overblown as he just needs to learn to take better shots.

2. Elfrid Payton, Junior, Louisiana-Lafayette, 6’4,185
Payton is as strong as Smart in many areas, including his ability to break down defenders off the dribble and get into the lane, where he is very good at hitting open teammates or drawing fouls. He is also a very good defender, though he doesn’t have Smart’s physical strength and relies more on quick hands and feet. Payton also has some perimeter shooting woes, but he needs to put work in on his form to get them fixed to keep defenders honest.

3. Tyler Ennis, Freshman, Syracuse, 6’2 1/2, 181
Ennis established himself as one of the top point guards in this class based on his tremendous control of the floor and composure for his age. People may have bolstered his abilities in their mind a bit much because of some buzzer beating shots, but Ennis still has a bright future ahead of him. The major question is whether he can be a real playmaker at the NBA level.

4. Shabazz Napier, Senior, Connecticut, 6’1, 175
A two-time NCAA champion with the Huskies, Napier has the skill and leadership ability to step in right away as a high-level backup for almost any NBA team. He is capable of scoring at the basket or from the perimeter, can distribute the ball and plays tough defense. Napier doesn’t shrink from big moments, and he is as strong a leader as there is in this draft class. His size isn’t ideal, but he will be fine heading a second unit.

5. Jordan Clarkson, Junior, Missouri, 6’5, 186
Clarkson is one of a couple of bigger guards who would be capable of playing in either guard spot but thrives when he has the ball in his hands. He is at his best in the open floor, but in the half-court, he uses long strides to get into the lane and to the basket. His distributing skills still need some work, and he usually will defer to looking for his own shot instead of finding a teammate, but his size could provide him opportunities to find teammates. Clarkson has the athletic ability to guard multiple positions but needs to put in more work on that end to be ready for the NBA.

6. Russ Smith, Senior, Louisville, 6’1, 160
Smith made strong strides as a senior, showing that he can be much more than the wild scorer who earned the “Russdiculous” moniker. Smith has incredible speed, and he uses it well, especially turning opponents’ mistakes into easy baskets on the other end. He is much better at finding his own shot, but he has shown that he can create for teammates in the half-court with the attention he draws. Teams can use him on and off the ball, and his versatility combined with his defensive ability will make him a valuable role player.

7. Vasilije Micic, 20 years old, Serbia, 6’6, 202
Micic has very good size for the point guard position, and he has a natural ability to find his teammates in both the open floor and transition. He uses his size well to get into the lane and to the basket, but he isn’t as reliable a perimeter shooter as he will need to be. Micic will be at his best in a pick-and-roll heavy offense, and his ability to make quick decisions will help him. His lack of athleticism could hurt him on the defensive end as he tries to cover quicker guards. Micic could be a good option as a third point guard for many teams.

8. Deonte Burton, Senior, Nevada, 6’1, 193
Burton is another small, quick guard in this class, with a strong ability to get to the basket and to find open teammates off of penetration. He has a great first step, and he had to carry a heavy scoring load for Nevada, which often hid his playmaking abilities. Burton’s defensive ability is above-average, though his effort can be inconsistent. His biggest challenge will be tailoring his strengths to be maximized in shorter minutes.

9. Jahii Carson, Sophomore, Arizona State, 5’11, 180
One of the most exciting players to watch in college basketball the past two years, Carson uses his speed well to create opportunities on both ends of the floor. He is at his best when attacking the basket, though he did make strong improvements as a perimeter shooter this past season. His size can be a hindrance, but he has good body control and a nice ability to create space when he needs it.

10. Aaron Craft, Senior, Ohio State, 6’2, 192
Craft is not going to wow people when he is playing, but he leaves everything out on the floor and is as good a leader as you will find in this class. His strength is on the defensive end, where he knows exactly how to force his opponent away from his strengths. However, Craft’s offensive limitations may be what keeps him off the floor.