Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 116-99 win over Timberwolves

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 116-99 win over Timberwolves

OAKLAND – Six months after the Warriors with his palms up asking for a chance, Alfonzo McKinnie is shouting his story from mountaintops to street corners. Anyone with a dream would be wise to listen.

If you need inspiration, he's your man.

If you want to feel hopeful, listen to him and his teammates.

"Amazing. McKinnie played a significant role in a 116-99 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"The energy he's brought to the floor, getting extra possessions, the shot-making ability, it's been great to have that out there," Draymond Green said.

Coach Steve Kerr said: "It's been a huge surprise for us this year," said coach Steve Kerr.

McKinnie spent four years looking for a professional basketball home. He was a traveling man, playing in a bacon of a country in Europe with teammates who had day jobs, toiling in overheated gyms in Mexico, working in the G League, all with barely a whistle on NBA life.

And there he was Friday night, one of three Warriors to play the full fourth quarter, when the game was decided. McKinnie was out with Thompson and Green, with Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, with Andre Iguodala and Jonas Jerebko – all players who have completed six seasons in the league.

It was no surprise, then, that McKinnie, having played a season-high 27 minutes, made his first appearance at the postgame podium usually reserved for the stars.

"It's been working in Oakland," he said. "I've just been looking at work, to show the whole organization. For me to get 27 minutes, I know that I'm doing something right. "

McKinnie totaled 8 points (3-of-4 shooting from the field, 2-of-2 beyond the arc) and eight rebounds. He was plus-8 for the game and plus-21 for the fourth quarter, when the Warriors wiped out a four-point deficit and outscored Minnesota 33-12.

Through 10 games this season, the 6-foot-7 small forward is shooting 55.8 percent (24-of-43) overall, 58.8 percent (10 of 17) from deep. As stunning as that is, his rebounding rate – one every 2.46 minutes – is just the best on the team.

There's an explanation that. It's called hunger. There may not be more reflective of desire than rebounding.

"I feel like rebounding something I've got a crack," McKinnie said. "It's something I can do to help this team get extra possessions. When I get into the game, that's what they tell me to do. They tell me to go rebound, run the floor and I'm open to shoot the shot. "

How did the Warriors discover McKinnie? There are a couple of factors.

One, he did spend a few minutes, 53 to be exact, with the Raptors last season. Two, he's a cousin of Ralph Walker, the former Oakland police officer who was the team's security manager until retiring over the summer. And, the Warriors were scouring the market for wings.

"He's really come in that opportunity for him," Kerr said. "He's getting a lot of rebounds and a lot of loose balls, too. He's very athletic and has nose for the ball. He's knocking down some big shots for us too. I could not be happier for him – and for us. "

McKinnie, 26, was a roster spot in training camp when the Warriors did not know they'd have one available. He's earning minutes in the regular season, including in the fourth quarter of close games.

He's sitting at the podium after a victory representing the two-time defending NBA champions.

It's a long way from Luxembourg or Hermosillo, Mexico.

"I talk about my story every day," McKinnie said. "And I'm excited to tell it every day. It's a unique one. I'm just blessed and grateful to be in this position today. "

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