LAS VEGAS – Games of chance are easy to find in Las Vegas. But for NBA hopefuls entering the Summer League, chance is what they play for.
At this point, the Warriors’ off-season is largely over and the 15 squad places are taken. Your four-game summer league chalkboard, which starts at 5 p.m. on Monday. versus Orlando Magic, will help the team’s decision-makers determine how to fill a pair of two-way squads.
While most of the attention is paid to the Golden State lottery couple, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, the two-way spots shouldn’t be overslept. After all, contributors like Damion Lee and Juan Toscano-Anderson played a part in these deals and split their time between the G League subsidiary in Santa Cruz and the NBA club. Here are three players worth circling as candidates for a two-way contract.
Selom Mawugbe, center: Mawugbe, 23, was working at a Lowe’s in Santa Clarita when he received a call from his agent saying the Warriors wanted to talk.
The G-League draft was only days away and Mawugbe took a job as a sales rep since graduating from Azusa Pacific to make additional scratches during the pandemic.
« I figured that since I’m at home, I might as well work and earn some extra money instead of mocking my parents, » Mawugbe said. « I stayed longer than I intended because of the pandemic. »
He had been working there for nine months when the Warriors called him up for the Santa Cruz subsidiary. So Mawugbe quit his job and prepared for a shortened G League season in the Orlando bubble. His manager was upset when he left, but Mawugbe never thought of making Lowe a long-term gig.
« While customer service is something I’m good at, I absolutely can’t stand it, » Mawugbe said. « After hours and hours it will eat you up. »
In the bubble, he averaged 5.3 points and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 83%. The Warriors were impressed with how he bought into his role as screen setter and finisher and invited him to start at the center in the Summer League. At 6-foot-10,230 pounds, Mawugbe is being considered for a two-way contract and could be a valuable big reserve man to deploy in a crisis.
He still needs to get stronger and the coaches are working with him to improve his free throw shooting (60% last season), rebound and screen quickness. But the Warriors are optimistic about his future and believe that in a few years he could be a regular on an NBA roster. Mawugbe’s days of working customer service seem to be behind him.
« I haven’t, » he said.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 8: Warriors Guard Kyle Guy (50) wants to hold onto an NBA roster after two disappointing seasons in Sacramento. (Photo courtesy of Golden State Warriors.)
Kyle Guy, Security Guard: Every morning after Guy wakes up, he taps the Calm app on his phone and leaves his head blank for a few minutes.
The Guardian, 23, has had a tough time staying in the NBA since his stellar career in Virginia, and he has learned to rely on meditation to keep his head clear.
« When I was struggling not to play and I was really frustrated with the coaches, the front office, myself, all of that, » Guy said, « that’s when I started looking inside and realizing that it’s out of my control. »
Drafted to 55th overall by the Kings in 2019, Guy barely played during his two seasons in Sacramento. He spent most of his rookie season in the G League, playing just 31 games last season while on a two-way contract. Guy, the standout player of the 2019 NCAA tournament, tried just 93 shots in the NBA in two years after shooting more than 1,000 in three years in Virginia.
Now Guy – who can pass for a Jack Harlow lookalike since growing his hair and adding tattoos – is hoping that a formidable performance in the Summer League can lead to a new opportunity.
“I think Kyle is an NBA player and I think he will find a way to get there and stay. The most important thing for him is to find this defined role, ”said Summer League coach Kris Weems. « I have a feeling he’s about to stay with someone. »
While Guy hopes to avoid signing again, he finds that it is largely beyond his control. He just wants a chance to show that he can shoot, play for others and hold his own in defense. His mindfulness practice has made him feel more confident on the fringes of the NBA than he did when he was the big man on Virginia’s campus.
« I know what I’m worth and I think I’m an NBA player, » said Guy. “I don’t want to limit my options by saying: ‘Yes, I want reciprocity’.
Ryan Taylor, Security Guard: Taylor went to Golden State’s off-season minicamp in September, motivated to turn a promising first season in the G League into a spot on the NBA club roster.
On the court with several rotation players from the Warriors, Taylor scored a team high of 15 points in a scrimmage with five 3-pointers.
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« Ryan really caught fire today, » Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters at the time. « It was fun to see. »
But despite his impressive performance, Taylor failed to secure one of the double contracts that went to Nico Mannion and Toscano-Anderson.
Now Taylor, 26, is a veteran on the Golden State’s Summer League list. Another impressive performance after two seasons in Santa Cruz could be enough to land a two-way deal this time around. Since Taylor joined Golden State’s G League subsidiary in 2019, Taylor has averaged 9.0 points at 44.4% shooting and 43.1% overall and 2.2 rebounds in 36 games. At 6 feet 6, 190 pounds, he has the tools to play a 3-and-D role.
Of course, the Warriors aren’t limited to signing a player from their Summer League team, which includes Eli Pemberton, Jaquori McLaughlin and Cameron Oliver. Others playing for opponents will also impress, and Golden State could potentially sign any qualifying free agent. But the organization brought these players in for a reason, and they have the inside track.
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