Willie Cauley-Stein is likely a familiar name to Dub Nation: the free agent who signed with the Warriors this summer spent his first four seasons in the NBA a few miles up I-80 East with the Sacramento Kings. Though he may have been a one-time rival of the Warriors, Cauley-Stein expressed thrill and gratitude in joining the squad in an interview with 95.7 The Game: “To join this team and learn from, arguably, the greatest team in this era is crazy. I’m excited!”
And it may not just be the opportunity to develop further with the team that has him excited. If you didn’t know, Cauley-Stein has been a wearing the Dubs’ blue and gold for longer than you may think.
“I remember I was in grade school and one of the first sports books I read was a Warriors [book]… and ever since then I just love the colors. And then after Steph [Curry] did his thing at Davidson and he got drafted there, all my friends put on ‘The Bay’ hats and we were going crazy,” said Cauley-Stein he said in that same interview.
So, being tied to Dub Nation and knowing from first-hand experience as a visiting player what Warriors home games are like, Cauley-Stein is ready to soak in the experience at the brand new Chase Center: “Being in the Bay… I feel the culture, I feel the excitement. Every fan that I talk to: they’re so excited. That love is so mutual that I’ll run through a wall for that love.”
Besides running through walls, what will the big man bring to the team?
Cauley-Stein averaged 10.1 points and 6.4 rebounds to go with almost one steal and one blocked shot in 24 minutes per game. He is a sizable presence in the middle, and demonstrated an ability to set strong picks for others around him while with the Kings. That last aspect bodes well for the Warriors as newly-added All-Star D’Angelo Russell used the pick-and-roll in 49.9% of his plays last season, per NBA.com/stats.
When Cauley-Stein was asked about adapting to the Dubs’ style of play style on July 8, he said: “It’s going to be interesting… they’re obviously going to have to change how we play just a little bit,” he said of the possible adjustments on offense, but with the added benefit of the pick-and-roll with Russell giving shooters in the corners a bigger advantage “because the spacing out there is going to be crazy.”
He may enjoy some of the Dubs’ spacing for himself and put-up some three-pointers, too. “Yeah!… [Laughing] yeah I’ll go out there and shoot threes,” Cauley-Stein said while on 95.7 The Game.
But that joke may have some truth behind it as the big man has posted himself going through 500 three-point reps this summer, calling himself “Larry the Splash Uncle” in the process.
With the NBA season fast approaching, Cauley-Stein has continued to work through the offseason to remain ready, as evidenced by his frequent posting of drills and workouts.
But why push so hard? You could say that he is “excited.”
“I’m excited to come to work, I’m excited to start working out with the [Dubs players] and the coaches. It’s all excitement on this side… I’m just excited,” Cauley-Stein told The Game.