The headline of this article is one not many Kentucky fans would have ever expected to read.
After a six-game run with the Golden State Warriors, former Wildcat Mychal Mulder is expected to receive his second 10-day contract sometime in the coming week – likely on Tuesday.
Mychal Mulder didn’t practice today, but the Warriors anticipate bringing him back on a second 10-day contract.
— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) March 8, 2020
Mychal Mulder won’t sign his second 10-day today. Like with Dragan Bender, makes more sense for Warriors to wait until a gameday (they next play on Tuesday) to stretch control of second 10-day as long as possible.
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 8, 2020
In six games with the Warriors, Mulder has been more than just a reserve player. He’s logging starter minutes and Golden State is 3-3 since his arrival. The one-time Kentucky guard is averaging 12.3 points and 3.2 rebounds on shooting splits of 43.1/35.6/80.0. Mulder is appearing in nearly 30 minutes per outing and has hit double-digits in scoring through four of his six games.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has been impressed by Mulder’s play and has already expressed his desire to bring the sharp-shooter back for another deal.
“Mych is fantastic, a really good player, good defensively as well, and we’re lucky to have him,” Kerr said after the Warriors 118-114 win over Philly on Saturday. “Anxious to – I know this was the final day of his 10-day, but we’re anxious to get him back some way.”
The native of Ontario spent two seasons in Lexington after transferring from junior college. While he didn’t play much his junior season (90 total minutes across 24 games), Mulder made an impact off the bench as a senior, playing over 10 minutes per game. He’s often a forgotten a player in the Calipari-era, but one that has worked harder than most of the players to ever play under the Kentucky head coach.
Mulder spent roughly the first three seasons of his professional career working on his craft in the G League, slowly improving and patiently awaiting his shot at the NBA. Now, he’s playing key minutes down the stretch at basketball’s highest level for a world-class organization. He missed all five of his three-pointers in his debut against the Los Angeles Lakers, finishing with just two points. Since then, his shot has been one of the most reliable on the team.
“It has been a long road,” Mulder said, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic. “I never stopped believing in myself. I never doubted that at the end of the day, with my work ethic and all the work that I was willing to put in, that eventually the stars would align and I would end up in the position that I want to be in. So to make this call-up happen has meant everything to me. And it’s been a long time coming. A lot of work, a lot of long nights, early mornings, so it means everything to me. I just never stopped believing in myself and fought every day to make this happen.”
Mulder is a unique situation with the Warriors. After several years of continued success, key injuries and Kevin Durant moving to Brooklyn hampered any chance of Golden State making the playoffs this season. They had no reason to not try and bring in under-the-radar players from all corners of the country, even if they hit on just one starter-quality athlete. Mulder has been one of many that the Warriors have auditioned – and he’s shined.
Steph Curry is back from his hand surgery that has kept him out for nearly the whole season (although Curry is currently out with an illness). Mulder is going to have a bit more time to learn from and play alongside the greatest shooter of all-time. If he can play his way into a deal for next season, he could play next to Curry AND players such as Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.
*Interesting side note: Mulder recently said that his first name “Mychal” comes directly from the name of Klay Thompson’s father, who is also named Mychal and was a former NBA two-time NBA Champion.*
While the beginning of the 2020-21 season is a long way away relative to NBA time, Mulder isn’t going away anytime soon. Take a few minutes to read Blake Murphy’s article in The Athletic (if you have a subscription) on Mulder if you can, there are some great quotes from Kerr and fellow Canadian Jamal Murray along with a brief story about how he chose to defend Devin Booker in a win over the Suns.