CLEVELAND — Patrick McCaw made his Cavaliers debut Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena against the Miami Heat, and he made it doing a variety of things.
Long-limbed at 6-foot-7 and 185 pounds, the 23-year-old sometimes defended Heat point guards while functioning as Cleveland’s shooting guard or small forward at the offensive end.
“I’m just a basketball player,” McCaw said. “You put me on the floor and I can guard most positions.”
Until signing with the Cavs as a restricted free agent — Golden State elected not to match the offer — the UNLV product hadn’t been on an NBA floor this season.
McCaw reportedly will make $3 million this season, but his deal does not become guaranteed until Monday. He also has a $3 million, non-guaranteed contract for next season.
“I feel great,” McCaw said. “I bet on myself and I stayed positive. A lot of guys in my position, being 22, 23 years old, would never take that chance, just because they don’t know what the outcome would be.”
Chosen by Milwaukee with the 38th pick in the 2016 draft and then traded to Golden State, McCaw won titles in his first two years with the Warriors, averaging 4.0 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 128 regular-season games (30 starts). He held out this season and didn’t sign a deal until Cleveland came calling.
“We’re very excited to have him,” Cavs coach Larry Drew said. “He’s a kid who I’ve always loved his game, just from his length and his speed. He gets his hands on a lot of balls.
“He has not played in a little while. We’re not going to try to cram him with a bunch of things. We’re not going to try to run him into the ground. We want to get him gradually acclimated to what we want to do.”
McCaw’s biggest contribution with the Cavs could come defensively, with his versatility leading Drew to compare him to 6-9, 186-pound Corey Brewer.
“He brings a energy,” the coach said. “I wouldn’t say it’s something we don’t have, but it’s certainly something we can add to. ... He certainly has some intangibles that excite us or we wouldn’t have brought him in.”
McCaw, who worked out with his dad while away from the NBA, is pleased to be with the Cavs.
“When my number, my opportunity presents itself, I’ll be ready,” he said “I’m just happy to be in Cleveland.
“With the young guys, it’s easy to talk to them because we’re kind of on the same ground,” he added. “We’re working to try to continue to get better, continue to play the game the right way. It will be fun.”
Cavs center Tristan Thompson, who missed 10 games (2-8) after spraining his left foot on Dec. 10, was back in uniform against the Heat.
“It’s better to be on the court competing with your guys,” he said. “I’m glad to be back.”
After being taken with the No. 4 pick in the 2011 draft, Thompson played in 447 straight regular-season games until being sidelined by a sprained thumb in April 2017.
“It’s just part of the NBA grind,” he said. “The ironman stuff was fun while it lasted. Now it’s back to trying to be ready every night to play.”
Thompson doesn’t think his streak played any role in his most recent injury but said he went too far to keep it going.
“Realistically, it’s a dumb streak,” he said. “If I could do it all over again, I’d sit some games out. But it was fun. Guys knew they could count on me every night. ... When you read the media guide, (it’s) something good to read about me.”
The Cavs also welcomed back shooting guard Rodney Hood, who missed four games with a sore left Achilles, while Kevin Love (foot), John Henson (wrist), David Nwaba (ankle) and Ante Zizic (knee) remained sidelined.
Cavs rookie point guard Collin Sexton entered Wednesday 42-for-126 from the field (.333) over his last nine games, having failed to shoot .500 in any of them.
The 19-year-old averaged 3.0 assists in that span (2.7 for the season), including tying his career high with six in two of the previous three games.
“He really is starting to make other people better,” Drew said. “To me, that is the true essence of a point guard.”
- Cavs big man Larry Nance Jr. turned 26 on Jan. 1.
- If you like crazy stats, Nance became the first player since steals started being tracked in 1973-74 to put up at least 18 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and shoot at least .875 from the field (7-for-8) Saturday in Atlanta.
- Over his last nine games prior to Wednesday, Nance averaged 13.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.33 steals and 0.78 blocks.
- Cavs swingman Alec Burks appeared in his 400th career game.
- Cleveland hosts Utah on Friday, New Orleans on Saturday and Indiana on Tuesday to conclude its four-game homestand.