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Santa Cruz Weekly Write-Up: Chris Boucher Set to Make Sea Dubs Debut
By Kevin Danna
Santa Cruz Warriors broadcaster Kevin Danna provides an update on what's going on with the Sea Dubs.
1. How's the team doing?
While the Sea Dubs are coming off a 109-83 loss to Raptors 905 to wrap up the 2018 G League Showcase, Santa Cruz had a successful six-game road swing to the Eastern time zone, going 4-2 to get to 16-11 overall. After losing to Erie to begin the trip, the Warriors reeled off four-straight against Delaware, Lakeland, Greensboro and Grand Rapids (defeating Grand Rapids at the Showcase in Ontario, Canada) before dropping one to the 905. The Warriors were severely shorthanded in that Thursday loss to Raptors 905, as Terrence Jones (death in the family) and Georges Niang (more on that later) were not in the lineup, so there wasn't a whole lot to expect from that one.
There are still 23 games left in the regular season, but it's never too early to look ahead to the potential postseason picture, and it's a muddled one. At 16-11, the Warriors are just a half-game back of South Bay for the Pacific Division lead and a game and a half back of Rio Grande Valley for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, but are also just one game ahead of the team with the seventh-best record in the conference (top six in each conference make it). Just about every team is in the Western Conference playoff hunt, save for 4-24 Salt Lake City, so a lot can change.
2. How are the guys on the Golden State roster doing?
Finally, the wait is over – Golden State Warriors forward Chris Boucher is set to make his professional debut Wednesday night in a Sea Dubs uniform against the Reno Bighorns. Boucher, who is on a two-way contract with Golden State and Santa Cruz much like Quinn Cook, hasn't played since March, when he tore his ACL in the Pac-12 Tournament as a member of the Oregon Ducks. The upside is huge for this kid, who averaged 11.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in his two years in Eugene and has all the length in the world to be a pest of a defender in addition to an efficient offensive player. He looked very good in practice Tuesday, so it will be exciting to finally see him in game action.
3. Who else has been impressing lately?
A big shout-out to Georges Niang, who missed the Raptors 905 game because he was too busy inking a two-way deal with the Utah Jazz. He becomes the second Sea Dub to get a Gatorade Call-Up this season (Antonius Cleveland signed with the Mavericks in November), marking the first time since the 2014-15 season that multiple Sea Dubs earned call-ups to the NBA (Elliot Williams and James Michael McAdoo that year – while we're here, a big best of luck to McAdoo, who was recently waived by Philadelphia). You know what else happened in 2014-15? The Sea Dubs won a G League title...
It was a very deserving call-up for Niang, who had his way with G League competition to the tune of 18.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game on 41.5 percent 3-point shooting. The craftiest guy in the G League could very well suit up against the Sea Dubs as a member of the Salt Lake City Stars when the two sides square off twice in the SLC in February, but hopefully he'll be too busy getting minutes with Donovan Mitchell and friends.
Niang becomes the 10th different Sea Dub in franchise history to earn a call-up and the third to get called up to the Utah Jazz, joining Travis Leslie and Elliot Williams in that regard.
4. What's next?
It's been more than three weeks since the Sea Dubs have had a home game, but that's about to change in a major way. Tonight's contest against Reno kicks off a six-game homestand that takes us through the end of January and is highlighted by a Jan. 28 date against the Austin Spurs at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Last year's Oracle game set a then-G League attendance record (that was since broken by Raptors 905, but they did it with a school day game; the 17,000-plus at Oracle for Santa Cruz's Feb. 12 date against Oklahoma City was a more legit number), so expect a lively atmosphere as always. While it will be fun to play six-straight at home, it won't be easy; all six opponents are currently .500 or better, and the first two opponents – Reno and Iowa – are a combined 17-3 in their last 20 games. These are huge games for Western Conference playoff positioning, so they should be fun and intense battles; 4-2 would be a nice benchmark for this tough homestand.