What a difference a year makes.
Quinn Cook’s 9 second half points sparked a key run that ultimately helped the Warriors earn a Game 2 NBA Finals victory. It was a big moment for the NBA G League alum, one that he had to wait for. But when Golden State called his number, he didn’t disappoint.
Last season, the guard experienced most of the NBA Finals from his seat on the Warriors bench, save for one 3-minute appearance against the Cavaliers. Though he had filled in splendidly for an injured Stephen Curry through Golden State’s Conference Quarterfinals and Semifinals matchups, the two-time NBA MVP had returned to face Cleveland and Cook’s playing time decreased.
Still, the 2016 NBA G League alum’s contributions to his team’s overall championship run were undeniable. He had proven his value, and it would only be a matter of time before he himself received more time to shine.
The young gun came up big in the clutch in Game 2, playing 21 minutes and hitting three key shots from downtown to help his team gain momentum and even up the series at 1. For a minor league alum like Cook, having that ‘next man up’ mentality is key to one’s success. It doesn’t matter when opportunity comes along, only that someone like him is ready when it does. On Sunday, that meant shining on basketball’s biggest stage.
Such an exclamation point is the latest highlight in Cook’s journey. He was the 2016 NBA G League Rookie of the Year, emerged as a two-time minor league all-star and even won MVP at the 2017 All-Star Game. Though he had received previous cups of coffee in the NBA and donned the uniforms of teams like the Pelicans and Mavericks, he gambled on his abilities and signed a Two-Way Contract with the Warriors prior to last season. That meant the offensive spark plug was able to stay sharp and hone his skills with the Santa Cruz Warriors, all while waiting for the true chance to strut his stuff – which came last season when Curry went down. Cook went on to prove his worth, so much so that the Warriors converted his deal into a standard one. He became too valuable not to have on the roster every single night, and after a performances like the one he had in Game 2, it’s easy to see why.
From winning an NCAA title with Duke to becoming an NBA champion last season, Cook is a proven winner. As he eyes his second professional title, he’s clearly gotten even more of an opportunity to leave his fingerprints on his team’s latest chase.