ST. LOUIS, MO-Patrick McCaw has returned to the NBA Finals for the third straight year, albeit with a different team, after taking a path that at the very least, could be described as circuitous.
The former CBC standout guard, who landed with Golden State after a draft night trade with Milwaukee in 2016, won titles with the Warriors in his first two seasons. But last year’s road to a championship was a rocky one, with on court inconsistency and recovery from a scary back injury in March 2018. McCaw declined to re-sign with Golden State as a restricted free agent, ended up signing with Cleveland to an offer sheet the Warriors did not match, was released by the Cavs within days, and ultimately signed with the Toronto Raptors for the rest of the season. The Raptors are in the NBA Finals for the first time, a decided underdog to unseat the Warriors.
“It’s been an up-and-down year for me just handling everything as a kid and figuring out the business side of basketball and how everything works,” McCaw told reporters earlier this week. “I’ve done so much growing, and I feel like coming into this summer and just being here with the Raptors has been great.
“I was a 21-year-old kid going into the summer and just trying to figure out what I wanted and it was all like a personal, from a personal standpoint,” he said of the decision to seek both a bigger payday and more playing time.” It’s tough when you’re that young and you see things only your way and I kind of wasn’t too aware of how everything worked, but I knew what I wanted for myself and I just stuck with that.”
McCaw averaged 2.6 points in 29 games during this past regular season. Anything, after last spring’s spinal injury, when he wasn’t able to return to the court, sounds like gravy.
“I think people really don’t know the severity of the injury and how my life could be totally different, I probably wouldn’t be here talking to you right now and so it was just a lot. And to go back to The Finals again and not be able to compete and be out there with my team but also, just to dress, but there was just a lot of emotions of going through something so drastic,” he said.
McCaw is not the only Missouri connection to the Raptors. Toronto forward OG Anunoby, a Jefferson City High School graduate, hopes to return to the court for the Raptors after missing time due to an appendectomy.