Santa Cruz Weekly Write-Up: Sea Dubs Attempting Late Postseason Push
By Kevin Danna
Santa Cruz Warriors broadcaster Kevin Danna provides an update on what's going on with the Sea Dubs.
1. Team Update
A busy four-games-in-seven-days stretch saw the Sea Dubs go 2-2, with wins over the Northern Arizona Suns and Memphis Hustle and losses to the Oklahoma City Blue and Sioux Falls Skyforce, to drop to 21-22 with seven games remaining.
Simply put, the Sea Dubs cannot keep trading wins and losses if they want to see the postseason. In order to make the postseason, Santa Cruz needs to jump over two teams in the Western Conference standings –23-20 Oklahoma City and the 24-18 Texas Legends. As you can see, the Sea Dubs need some help. The most straightforward way to the playoffs for Santa Cruz is this – win out, Oklahoma City goes 4-3 (the Blue has the tiebreaker over Santa Cruz as a result of Friday's Blue 111-101 victory over Santa Cruz) and Texas goes 4-4 (Santa Cruz would own the tiebreaker if it wins out, because it would mean winning at Texas and going 2-1 against the Legends).
It could happen, but Santa Cruz is probably going to have to do it shorthanded, as two-way star Quinn Cook is currently with Golden State and Terrence Jones (knee), Winston Shepard (hamstring), Michael Gbinije (groin) and Jabari Brown (hip) are all nursing injuries and missed at least the last couple of games. There's still a chance, but the winning has to start now, and it likely has to start without a full roster available.
2. Jordan Bell Makes Sea Dubs Debut
Jordan Bell put on a G League uniform for the first time in his career Sunday, helping the Sea Dubs to a 132-120 win over the Memphis Hustle at Kaiser Permanente Arena. In 28 minutes on the floor, Bell did a little bit of everything – 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and a block on 7-of-9 shooting.
Before the game, Bell said a chat with teammate Patrick McCaw, who has played two games on assignment in Santa Cruz each of the last two years, convinced him that playing in the G League would be a good idea.
"I think it's something that I really need right now," Bell said. "I talked about it with Pat, because I was like ‘you know, I think I should go to the G League, to get some conditioning.' And he was telling me, ‘yeah, that's a good idea.'"
When a reporter asked Bell after the game what excites him the most – a big dunk or a big block (he had both of those on Sunday – Bell went with a third option: a big assist. That was evident on the court, as Bell passed up at least one would-be dunk to try to set up another teammate for an open 3-pointer or another good look.
"I thought he was good. He played with energy. He didn't try to do too much, very unselfish," Santa Cruz head coach Aaron Miles said. "After the game, I told him, he's already naturally unselfish, so he doesn't have to try to be unselfish... He played hard, which is why he plays up there. Because he plays with energy, he understands how to play, has a good feel for the game."
3. Jeremy Pargo A Welcomed Presence In Surf City
With Quinn Cook up with Golden State for the time being, the acquisition of guard Jeremy Pargo has been an important get for the Sea Dubs. The 32-year-old younger brother of longtime NBAer Jannero Pargo has been very effective for the Sea Dubs, averaging 16.6 points and 10.4 assists on 40 percent 3-point shooting in his first five games with Santa Cruz. Pargo, who has two years of NBA experience in addition to a wealth of overseas experience in China, Israel, Russia, and Italy, has been a nice veteran presence for the Sea Dubs. He's the first player the Sea Dubs have had all year that is 30 or older.
Pargo has carried a team-first attitude with him to Surf City, and it's pretty evident that he enjoys throwing lobs to the likes of Damian Jones and Chris Boucher.
"That's not my focus, actually," Pargo said when he was asked about what he was trying to show NBA execs with respect to a potential call-up. "My focus is to come here and help this team win, try to get to the playoffs and make as much noise as possible. I was actually just telling one of the young guys, if it happens, it happens, if it doesn't, it doesn't. That wasn't my goal in terms of coming here. My goal was not coming here and ‘I'm going to the NBA.' No, that's not my mindset at all."
4. Chris Boucher Is Tearing It Up
The minutes restriction is off, and Chris Boucher has been off to the races. The Golden State two-way forward has three double-doubles in his last five games, including a 24-point, 18-rebound effort in last Wednesday's win over the Suns and a 21-point, 15-rebound performance in a season-high 37:30 of action in the Tuesday night loss to Sioux Falls. He has always been a bundle of energy, making something happen whenever he gets on the floor. He has been especially active on the offensive glass as of late, averaging five offensive rebounds per game over his last five.
5. Quinn Cook Set To Make G League History
Before Sunday's win over Memphis, Quinn Cook's last game with Santa Cruz was Feb. 11 against the South Bay Lakers, when he went for 41 points on 14-of-20 shooting and 5-of-7 3-pointing. In Sunday's win over Memphis, Cook went for 41 points and 10 assists on 13-of-19 shooting and 6-of-12 3-point shooting. It's just too easy for Cook in the G League, as he is averaging 24.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 7.9 assists in 28 contests on 52 percent from the field, 43 percent from three and 95 percent from the line. According to former G League guru Chris Reichert, the league minimums to qualify for shooting percentage leaders for a full G League season are 183 made field goals, 34 made 3-pointers and 76 made free throws. The good news is that Cook has cleared all those hurdles, with 253 made field goals, 78 made 3-pointers and 108 made free throws…and this doesn't even include the protest game against Iowa on Jan. 19 that will finally go final on Mar. 23 when the two teams re-play the final 17.5 seconds of regulation (Cook had a cool 43 in that game on 16-27 FG, 5-8 3FG and 6-6 FT, so those percentages are only going north).
I say all of that to say this – with his .522/.431/.947 shooting splits, Cook is more than on track to become the first 50-40-90 guy in G League history.
Simply put, Quinn Cook is too good for the G League and he needs to be on a full NBA contract in the 2018-19 season.
6. What's Next?
The Sea Dubs are currently on a pretty long four-game road trip, as they don't play again until Saturday against Memphis (a team that actually plays in Southaven, Mississippi, which is about 15 minutes away from Memphis). Tuesday's game against Sioux Falls was originally scheduled for Wednesday, which is why in part this road trip is a little bit longer than usual.
But the Sea Dubs will get a chance to get comfy in Memphis, and I've been told the team will get a chance to visit the National Civil Rights Museum. From Memphis/Mississippi, the Sea Dubs head to Texas for games against the Legends on Mar. 13 and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Mar. 15. That'll do it for the road games this year, as Santa Cruz wraps up the season with three home games… plus the final 17.5 seconds of the protest game against Iowa.