The Santa Cruz Warriors wrapped up what was possibly the biggest event in the team’s two-year history on Monday, as it hosted the NBA D-League Showcase. The showcase — a five-day, 19-game gathering of all 18 D-League teams — is the league’s premiere event, drawing scouts and executives from all 30 NBA teams to shop for prospects.
At least four teams found a player worth picking up as the Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors all signed D-League players to 10-day contracts since the showcase ended.
The Golden State Warriors — parent club of the Santa Cruz Warriors — called up standout Santa Cruz forward James Michael McAdoo, who posted averages of 17.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.59 blocks, 2.0 steals, 2.0 assists and 1.83 blocks in 22 games for Santa Cruz this season.
“It was surreal — playing in the showcase and in a matter of 24 hours leaving Santa Cruz, being here in Oakland and playing in my first NBA game was more than I could’ve ever imagined,” McAdoo said.
In his first game with Golden State Monday night, McAdoo earned a standing ovation from the crowd at Oracle Arena showing his tenacious defensive skills and posting 11 points and five boards in the fourth quarter of the team’s 122-79 blowout victory over the Denver Nuggets.
“The moment that coach called my name and put me in there, that is what I’ve trained for. I put myself in a position where no matter how nervous I was, as soon as I stepped out there my training and all the hard work I’ve put in just took over,” McAdoo said of his first regular season NBA experience.
Before departing for Oakland, McAdoo helped the Warriors advance to the second round of this weekend’s Showcase Cup — the single elimination tournament featuring the top eight teams in the league — held for the first time as a part of this year’s showcase. McAdoo put up 11 points in the Warriors’ first round win over the Canton Charge while adding nine rebounds, three steals and four assists.
“The biggest thing I took away from it was just how competitive the D-League is and seeing all the phenomenal athletes,” McAdoo said. “That was the first time I really realized the D-League is a very competitive league and has very good talent.”
In the second round of the tournament, the Warriors faced the Grand Rapids Drive and its star guard, Lorenzo Brown, who proved to be too much to handle. He scored 23 points to go along with five boards and three assists to help the Drive take down the Warriors 77-100. The Drive went on to lose the championship game to the Bakersfield Jam. Archie Goodwin, a Jam guard, put up 22 points, nine rebounds and three steals, leading the Jam to a 105-99 victory and winning the Showcase Cup MVP award in the process.
In addition to the action on the court, Santa Cruz saw considerable action as local businesses and hotels had an uptick in business during what is usually one of the slowest months of the year.
“At some of the hotels, and downtown, it was hopping,” said Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane. “And in January, which is not usually a busy time.”
Despite positive feedback and preliminary discussions between the Warriors and the league, it is unclear if the showcase will return next year. Some reports speculated a move to Las Vegas may be in the works. Regardless, the event was hailed as a success by both the team and the city as over 8,300 fans entered Kaiser Permanente Arena over the course of the event.
“It was a tremendous success for the fans, the players and the NBA scouts who came to Santa Cruz, had great weather and saw some great basketball,” said Warriors President Jim Weyermann. “It’s no comparison when you compare the city of Santa Cruz with 70 degree weather versus some of the other [D-League] sites that were 16 below. The venue works better [than other D-League venues] and the city is better suited for it.”