Willie Cauley-Stein
Willie Cauley-Stein
26-Year-Old CenterC
Dallas Mavericks
OFS
Injury Personal
Est. Return 11/1/2020
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Cauley-Stein should have no shortage of motivation this coming season, as long-term job security eludes him for the time being. The fifth-year big man signed a one-year deal with the Warriors for slightly more than the league minimum after four so-so seasons in Sacramento to open his career. The seven-footer played more up to his size over his last two campaigns, averaging a career-best 8.4 rebounds last season and pairing them with a new high-water mark in steals (1.2). However, he's disappointingly averaged less than a block per game in each pro campaign thus far and also drained a career-worst 55.6 percent of his free-throw attempts last season. The center position has mostly taken a back seat offensively in Golden State for the last several seasons, given the plethora of talent elsewhere in the starting five. Yet, with Klay Thompson likely out until sometime after the All-Star break with his knee injury and Kevin Durant (Achilles) now in Brooklyn, that may change to an extent in the 2019-20 campaign. Whether Cauley-Stein will see enough minutes to capitalize is firmly up in the air, however. A fellow big who's almost three years younger and has considerably more experience in coach Steve Kerr's system, Kevon Looney, will be splitting time with Cauley-Stein at center. Cauley-Stein certainly has much more prototypical size for the position than the 6-foot-9 Looney, but the latter has proven capable of handling center duties in the way the position is deployed in Golden State's fast-paced attack. Ultimately, a drop in production across the board for Cauley-Stein is very possible, considering Warriors centers in the Kerr Era have typically averaged considerably fewer than the respective 10.6 and 9.1 attempts the big man put up during his last two Kings seasons. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $2.18 million contract with the Warriors in July of 2019. Traded to the Mavericks in January of 2020. Contract includes $2.29 million player option for 2020-21.
Personal Bio

Willie Trill Cauley-Stein was born in Spearville, Kansas, to Willie Cauley and Marlene Stein. His father played college basketball at Dodge City Community College and for one season at the University of Pittsburgh. As a sophomore, Cauley-Stein transferred to Olathe Northwest High School in Olathe, Kansas. During his junior season, he averaged 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He was considered a four-star basketball recruit by Rivals.com and was listed as the No. 9 center and the No. 40 player in the nation in 2012. Cauley-Stein also gained recognition on the football field, playing wide receiver and catching 57 passes for 1,140 yards and 14 touchdowns in nine games in 2011. Cauley-Stein has helped design a collection of custom watches, with proceeds donated to the American Cancer Society in honor of a late childhood friend. Learn more about Cauley-Stein by following him on Twitter (@THEwillieCS15) and Instagram (@pr00fessortrill).

College/International Summary

Cauley-Stein joined Kentucky as part of another loaded recruiting class in 2012-13. For the majority of his freshman season, the seven-footer came off the bench in support of Nerlens Noel. Toward the end of the SEC schedule, Noel tore his ACL and Cauley-Stein started the last 10 games of the season. He had two of his four double-doubles during this period. The Wildcats lost four of their last five games and did not receive an NCAA Tournament bid. The center started 18 games as a sophomore and provided 6.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. In the SEC Tournament title-game win over Florida, Cauley-Stein had 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. He injured his leg in the NCAA Tournament and returned to Kentucky for his junior season. The center started all but one game in his third season and averaged 8.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks for a stacked Kentucky team that did not lose until the Final Four against Wisconsin. Cauley-Stein announced after the season that he would enter the 2015 NBA Draft.

Sitting out resumption of season
CDallas Mavericks
Out For Season
June 25, 2020
Cauley-Stein informed the Mavericks on Thursday that he will sit out the resumed 2019-20 season because he and his partner are expecting a newborn child in July, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
With Cauley-Stein skipping out on joining the Mavericks in Orlando when the season resumes next month, Boban Marjanovic and Maxi Kleber could see more time at center. In a corresponding move, the Mavericks signed Trey Burke.
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Past Season Summaries
2018

Cauley-Stein started a career-high 81 games for the Kings in 2018-19, his fourth NBA campaign. In the process, he pulled down a career-best 8.4 rebounds per game. That figure led the Kings and was 23rd overall in the Association, while his season total of 678 rebounds ranked 19th in the league. The Kentucky product set his new single-game high in rebounds with 17 on Dec. 23 against New Orleans, then outdid himself with 18 on March 21 against Dallas. He also averaged 11.9 points per game along with a career-high 1.2 steals per contest. Cauley-Stein registered 22 double-doubles on the year, including four straight at the end of October. On Oct. 29, Cauley-Stein scored a season-high 26 points in a win at Miami, adding 13 rebounds. All told, he racked up 20-plus points seven times. Always efficient from the floor, the 7-foot center posted a 55.6 field-goal percentage, finishing 18th in the league. A good ball distributor for a big man, "Trill" averaged 2.4 assists for the second straight season, placing him fourth on the squad in that category.

2017

Cauley-Stein enjoyed a breakout year in his third NBA season. He played in 73 games for Sacramento in 2016-17, starting a career-high 57 of them. The former No. 6 overall draft pick set a series of new career bests by averaging 12.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals while logging 28.0 minutes per game. He also shot over 50 percent from the field (50.2) for the third consecutive season. Cauley-Stein started the season with a bang, totaling 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in the Kings' opener. He followed that up with another double-double in the second game of the year. Cauley-Stein went on to score 20-plus points on 11 occasions and rack up 12 double-doubles. That included a season-high 15 rebounds (with six offensive boards, tying his career high) to go with 18 points, two steals and two blocks against the Lakers on Feb. 24. The 7-foot center made the first three-pointer of his career Nov. 18 against Portland during a game in which he scored 18 points with nine boards and three steals. He set a new career high with seven steals in a Jan. 6 win over the Kings. Later that month, on Jan. 23, he blocked a career-high five shots while piling up 21 points and nine rebounds against Orlando.

2016

The beginning of the 2016-17 campaign saw Cauley-Stein again playing limited minutes off Sacramento's bench behind star center DeMarcus Cousins. Through his first 50 games, Cauley-Stein averaged 5.8 points and 2.7 rebounds while playing just 13.0 minutes per contest. However, that all changed in late February after Cousins was traded to New Orleans. In the Kings' first game following the trade, Cauley-Stein blew up for a career-high 29 points and 10 rebounds -- his first double-double of the year. He went on to average 12.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks over his last 25 games (21 starts) of the season. During that period, he registered another seven double-doubles. In one of those, an April 4 win over Dallas, the sophomore center set a new career high with 16 rebounds while scoring 12 points. Cauley-Stein was particularly strong in the season's final weeks, recording double-digit boards in six of the Kings' last 10 games. He also tied his rookie-season high with four blocks on two occasions.

2015

Drafted sixth overall out of Kentucky by the Kings, Cauley-Stein appeared in 66 games during his rookie campaign, starting 39 of them. He put together season averages of 7.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 0.7 steals across 21.4 minutes per game. Cauley-Stein flashed his potential early on, drawing his first NBA start in the Kings' second game of the season Oct. 30 against the Lakers. In that game, he racked up 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting with nine rebounds, three blocks and a steal across 30:11 on the court. A finger injury caused him to miss almost all of December, but soon after returning, Cauley-Stein enjoyed a stretch of 15 consecutive starts that featured some of his finest performances of the season. He posted three straight games with double-digit rebounds from Jan. 20 to 23, double-doubling twice while collecting two steals in each of those contests. The rookie saved his very best work for a three-game stretch in March. On Mar. 25, he set his season high with 26 points against the Suns. Two days later, he added another 21 against Dallas. The day after that, he picked up a season-high 14 rebounds along with 13 points for his third double-double of the campaign. Following the season, Cauley-Stein was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

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Transaction History
  • June 25, 2015
    Drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the 1st round (6th pick) of the 2015 NBA Draft.
  • July 16, 2015
    Signed a two-year rookie contract with the Sacramento Kings.
  • July 8, 2019
    Signed a one-year contract with the Golden State Warriors.
  • January 25, 2020
    Traded to the Mavericks for a 2020 second-round pick (via Utah).
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
During his third year in the league, Cauley-Stein saw the most run of his career. He started 58 of his 73 appearances, garnering 28.0 minutes per contest. As a result, he set career highs nearly across the board by averaging 12.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 61.9 percent from the charity stripe. He flashed a diverse skillset, able to put up significant stats in every category. Cauley-Stein was able to rack up 11 20-point games, 13 games with double-digit rebounds, six games with at least five assists, seven games with at least three steals, and four games with at least three swats. He should be in line for a similar workload this year, though the added presence of Marvin Bagley, who could play some center, could limited Cauley-Stein’s upside. Still, as a starting center who is expected to see minutes in the mid-to-upper 20s, Cauley-Stein is worth a look in the later rounds of most Fantasy drafts.
Cauley-Stein emerged last season after the Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins, creating a vacuum at the center slot. After the All-Star break, Cauley-Stein garnered 30.9 minutes, posting 12.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 50.4 percent from the field. While he isn’t a great scorer, the 7-foot 24-year-old has demonstrated solid upside as a rebounder and defender. He’s also a willing passer, racking up five games last season with at least five assists, all of which occurred in the 25 games he appeared in after the All-Star break. Though the Kings added veteran Zach Randolph to the mix heading into the 2017-18 season, Cauley-Stein still projects to be the starting center over him, Kosta Koufos and Georgios Papagiannis. Due to Sacramento’s center depth, it’s somewhat difficult to peg what Cauley-Stein’s exact role will be next season. Though, his heavy workload last season indicates that coaching and management believes in his potential as a long-term starting option. There are likely safer options from a workload perspective in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft, but he still has legitimate sleeper potential.
Cauley-Stein might not have received the accolades some of his fellow lottery picks did as rookies, but he validated the Kings' belief that he'd add some stability to the frontcourt, particularly for his work on the defensive end. While his averages of 5.3 boards and 1.0 block in 21.4 minutes per game didn't stand out, Cauley-Stein's seven-foot, 240-pound frame served as a constant deterrent for the opposition to attack the rim. Cauley-Stein's game remains less developed on the offensive end, but he did well to convert on most of his limited opportunities, averaging 7.0 points per game on 56.3 percent shooting from the floor. It seems unlikely that Cauley-Stein will develop enough of a perimeter game to raise his offensive floor much higher, but even as a Tyson Chandler-esque type who can protect the rim and excel at finishing near the basket, the 23-year-old would provide fantasy appeal through his rebounding, shot blocking and field-goal percentage. With DeMarcus Cousins expanding his offensive repertoire to the three-point line in 2015-16, he and Cauley-Stein are able to share the floor together, which was something of a concern heading into last season. Look for Cauley-Stein to see his minutes rise during his sophomore season, which should benefit his numbers across the board.
In an effort to improve upon their 27th ranked defense, the Sacramento Kings made the junior center out of Kentucky their selection with the sixth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. The 2015 1st team All-American averaged 26 minutes, 8.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks while shooting 57 percent from the field last season. Cauley-Stein's best asset is his ability to defend in the paint as well as on the perimeter, drawing comparisons to athletic NBA centers like Tyson Chandler. His biggest weakness is a lack of development on the offensive end. Cauley-Stein has limited range as a shooter and needs to refine his repertoire with his back to the basket. He has shown promise as a free-throw shooter, having improved his free throw shooting from 37 percent as a freshman to 62 percent during his junior year. His role in the Kings rotation is still to be determined this season. There is a natural void in the frontcourt with Jason Thompson being jettisoned to Philadelphia, but head coach George Karl has mentioned that he would like to see more of Rudy Gay as a stretch four. Regardless, there should be ample opportunity for playing time, as Sacramento lacks appropriate depth behind Demarcus Cousins and will need Cauley-Stein on the court in order to improve their defense. After drafting WCS, the Kings also signed center Kosta Koufos in free agency, a player coach George Karl started at center back in Denver, so it's likely WCS will be coming off the bench behind Koufos to start the season.
More Fantasy News
Good to go Wednesday
CDallas Mavericks
March 11, 2020
Cauley-Stein (illness) is available for Wednesday's game against the Nuggets.
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Probable Wednesday
CDallas Mavericks
Out For Season
March 11, 2020
Cauley-Stein (illness) is probable for Wednesday's contest against the Nuggets.
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Won't travel to San Antonio
CDallas Mavericks
Out For Season
March 9, 2020
Cauley-Stein (illness) will not play in Tuesday's game against the Spurs, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News reports.
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Doesn't see floor Monday
CDallas Mavericks
March 3, 2020
Cauley-Stein (personal) went unused off the bench in Monday's 109-107 loss to the Bulls, despite rejoining the Mavericks in Chicago for the contest.
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Will be available
CDallas Mavericks
March 2, 2020
Cauley-Stein (personal) will be available for Monday's game against the Bulls, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News reports.
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