Injuries to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, plus the departure of Kevin Durant, have forced the Golden State Warriors into a transition season. Along the way, the former championship team has added a bevy of new faces to reset their roster.
One of the new arrivals to Golden State is fifth-year center, Willie Cauley-Stein. Prior to joining the Warriors, the former Kentucky Wildcat spent his first four seasons up Californiaâ€™s highway I-80 from San Francisco, in Sacramento.
Cauley-Stein scored tallied 14 points, six steals, five rebounds and two assists in Golden Stateâ€™s first 2019-20 matchup with Sacramento, but that was at Chase Center in San Francisco. Now, the for Kings center will make his return back to Sacramento as a visitor for the first time in his career.
At the Warriorsâ€™ pregame shootaround, Cauley-Stein told reporters heâ€™s excited to be back in the state capital. Still, itâ€™s definitely weird being on the other sideline in the place where his career started, he says.
Itâ€™s going to be cool coming back â€” playing in the spot that I grew up in pretty much â€” itâ€™s weird being on this side of it though, Iâ€™ll be honest â€” Iâ€™m excited, itâ€™s going to be fun.
The Kansas native said it could be a mixed reaction when heâ€™s introduced in Sacramentoâ€™s Golden 1 Center, but overall heâ€™s expecting much love from the city that supported him throughout his career.
Probably both, probably be love and hate, thatâ€™s how it goes when you leave an organization, but shoot â€” a lot of love, man. I feel like either way itâ€™s a lot of love; I had a lot of support out here, a lot of people that believed in me off the court â€” itâ€™s going to be cool.
Cauley-Stein said he still follows the Kings when heâ€™s not playing and is happy to see them do well, just as long as itâ€™s not against his new team, the Golden State Warriors.
Golden Stateâ€™s 26-year-old center has missed the last two games with an illness but is feeling better just in time to return to the city that drafted him sixth overall in 2015.