The Warriors have an effect on ordinary players that transforms them into impactful role players; the Dubs have continually found unsuspected talent around the league, and Alfonzo McKinnie is the their most recent surprise X-factor.
Last season McKinnie only played 14 games with the Toronto Raptors — now in 2018-19, he has made it on the court every game for the defending champions.
The talent in the Warriors front office, especially in scouting, is unrivaled. Golden State’s Head of Player Personnel Larry Harris was at a work out in Wisconsin in 2014 when he was impressed by McKinnie’s.
The 26 year-old small forward played eight months in Luxembourg’s second division, he moved on to Mexico’s best basketball league, Reyos de Hermosillo McKinnie then earned a spot on Chicago’s G league team before he earned the final spot on the Warriors roster before the teams final preseason game on Oct. 11.
McKinnie is a notable success story, and his early season performance has caught the attention of NBA analysts and Sports writers across the nation.
In a tweet about McKinnie on Monday,Stephen A. Smith said“Remember his name,” and “If this kid is what I think he is, it ain’t even fair. Just isn’t. #RichGetRicher.”
There is a high ceiling for McKinnie’s potential and it is a mystery how he did not find a spot on any other NBA teams before the warriors picked him up. The second year pro has secured a place in the Warriors rotation, after an injury put Shaun Livingston out for extended time.
McKinnie has earned the support of his fellow teammates “I can’t believe that guy has not been in the NBA for years now,” Klay Thompson said in an interview after the Warriors commanding win over the Memphis Grizzlies. “He’s so efficient and he fills up such a great role for us as far his defensive versatility, his ability to rebound and his ability to knock down jumpers.”
The Warriors most notable off-season acquisition was free agent DeMarcus Cousins, but he is out with a torn achilles until Jan. Since the start of the season, McKinnie has had the most impact coming off the bench.
Averaging just under seven points and four rebounds a game, his stats do not do justice to his in game influence. His defensive prowess and hustle on rebounds have earned him extended minutes in a few of the Warriors early season match-ups.
McKinnie has seen significant an increase in his minutes in the first 11 games of the season. In the Warriors season opener against Oklahoma City, McKinnie only played two minutes and 21 seconds. On Monday night against Memphis he played 29 minutes and three seconds.
This uptick in minutes on the defending champion warriors is a testament to the rapid growth of McKinnie and how much potential he truly has. McKinnie took an unconventional route the NBA and is thriving in his time to shine.