Beachcombings: Sea Dubs’ Season is Underway

The 2019-20 G League season is underway, so let’s get you caught up on all things Santa Cruz Warriors and G League:

1. The Story So Far
The Sea Dubs are 3-2 in their first five games. A pair of 25-point losses will skew the stats for this small of a sample size, but the highlight of the season so far would have to be a pair of double-digit victories on the road at defending champion Rio Grande Valley and at 2018 G League champion Austin. You can next catch the Sea Dubs in action Thursday night at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Surf City when they take on division foe Northern Arizona at 7 p.m.

2. New Head Coach, Familiar Face
With Aaron Miles’ promotion to the Golden State bench, former Santa Cruz assistant and Stanford star Kris Weems has taken over as the fourth head coach in Santa Cruz Warriors history. He was an assistant for Miles the previous two seasons and also has experience up with Golden State, serving in a player development role with the big league Dubs from 2011-14.

His staff is full of guys familiar with Santa Cruz – Mike Lee is back in his third season as assistant coach, former Sea Dub player Anthony Vereen got promoted to full-time assistant after a couple of years on staff and James Andrisevic has returned to the staff following coaching stints in South Korea, Japan and a year with the Northern Arizona Suns. This will be his fourth year in Santa Cruz.

3. The Returners
You usually get a handful of players who come back from one year to the next, and Santa Cruz started the season with five guys who have previous Sea Dub experience – two-way player Damion Lee, Deyonta Davis, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Jeremy Pargo and Kevin Young. Young has since been waived and Lee had been getting serious rotation minutes with Golden State before breaking his hand (get well soon, Damion), but Toscano-Anderson, Davis and Pargo have been mainstays in the starting lineup to this point. All have been productive – Toscano-Anderson is averaging 10.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, while Davis is averaging 8.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks and Pargo is putting up averages of 15.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists.

4. The Returners
The leaves plenty of room for new guys, most of whom have serious NBA experience. Outside of two-way player Ky Bowman, who has been up with Golden State all season (and putting in work), Isaiah Reese is the only professional rookie on the Santa Cruz roster. In the starting lineup is Oakland native Jared Cunningham, a four-year NBA vet who was a rotation guy for the first half of the season for the 2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers squad that won the NBA title. Coming off the bench is Andrew Harrison, a regular starter on a playoff team for the 2016-17 Memphis Grizzlies and a three-year NBA veteran, and Devyn Marble, who played for the Orlando Magic for two seasons. They also have Vander Blue, a G League veteran who has spent parts of three NBA seasons with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Blue is the No. 2 scorer in G League history and, should he stay in Santa Cruz all season, will likely break the G League scoring record. He is currently 298 points shy of G League career record holder and former Golden State Warrior Renaldo Major.

5. The New Free Throw Rule
The G League always experiments with rules to see if the NBA would one day adopt them. It was originally in the G League where the shot clock would reset to 14 on an offensive rebound, and it was picked up by the NBA shortly thereafter. The coaches’ challenge that is debuting in the NBA this year has been around in the G League for years (the G League also adopted the international goaltending rule for a few years, where you could knock the ball off the rim – I wouldn’t mind seeing that adopted in the NBA one day, but that’s probably not happening).

The new hot-button experimental rule change comes at the foul line this year. In an effort to speed up games, players get one free throw every time they step to the stripe, and that free throw will be worth one, two or three points, depending on the result of the play (one point for an and-one or technical free throw, two points for a two-shot foul, three points for a shooting foul beyond the arc). I love this rule – I always fast-forward through free throws when watching games online or on my DVR, so this saves a good chunk of time, especially in a game like Sunday night’s RGV-Northern Arizona affair, a contest in which the whistle was blown 67 times for fouls (yikes). We’re back to normal for the final two minutes of regulation and overtime, so in crunch time, a player will get to shoot two or three free throws depending on the situation.

It has been pretty fascinating to watch this develop early on in the season. The Northern Arizona Suns missed two three-point free throws in a 121-120 loss to the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario earlier this season, so those two misses cost them six points in a one-point game. I’m not sure this will ever be adopted by the NBA – it might be a bit too radical – but for a league in which winning isn’t the only thing that’s important (namely, developing players, coaches and officials for the NBA being among the chief concerns), I think it’s great.

6. Watch the Sea Dubs on TV
This year, you can watch all Santa Cruz regular season games – home or away – on NBC Sports Bay Area or NBC Sports Bay Area Plus. I’m back on the call alongside Warriors Outsiders co-host Drew Shiller, making for must-see TV. Tune in!

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Author: NBA

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