Former Ohio State point guard and fan favorite Aaron Craft has signed with the Golden State Warriors, according to Bob Baptist via Craft's agent. Craft will head to to the Warriors training camp with a "small guarantee" from Golden State as a part of the deal.
Craft had come out of Ohio State with many NBA scouts wondering if his defensive-minded game could translate to the NBA, but that's now in the rear-view mirror. During both Summer League runs (first with the 76ers, then the Warriors) Craft impressed with how his defense held its own against some of the better talent in the Summer League itself. The first-year point guard averaged 16.6 minutes, 4.5 points, 2 assists, 2.3 turnovers and 1.7 steals while shooting 45 percent between both leagues.
He was better with the Warriors than the Sixers during the Summer League (7.4 ppg, 45% field goal percentage, 2.8 rpg, 2.4 apg, 2.6 steals per game), and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had been reported as really liking the way Craft played the game, so this deal makes a lot of sense on both sides. The Warriors were in need of a third point guard behind Steph Curry and Shaun Livingston. 2013 first round pick Nemanji Nedovic plays the position, but Craft is better at spelling the top two guys and playing aggressive defense in short stretches. Nedovic also injured his foot while training for the FIBA World Cup.
Our Sam Vecenie had the following to say about the news:
Depending on the severity of the Nedovic injury, I think there is a real chance Craft can make the Warriors. They could use a point guard that can come in for five minutes at a time and annoy the hell out of opposing point guards. Last year they often used Klay Thompson to do just that, but if they can limit his time facing off against point guards and start to get him more experience defending wings, that would be beneficial to his development as a two-way player. It's also worth mentioning that Shaun Livingston is also in the fold, so there may not be a ton of time for Craft generally. But he's also a great glue guy that you can count on to not complain about sitting on the bench and cheering for his teammates.
Another team that was reported as having interest was the Utah Jazz, but it looks like they'll have waited too long as Craft will head to Golden State.