The Beginning: 2014-15
It wasn’t long until Kilpatrick landed with a professional organization, and he signed a contract with the Golden State Warriors on October 20, 2014. The Dubs waived him five days later. The Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s D-League affiliate, wasted no time adding him to their roster. He struggled, however. The once-dominant All-American had issues adjusting to the professional level, and efficiency troubles bothered him.
In 22 games with Santa Cruz, Kilpatrick averaged 11.7 points on 38 percent shooting in 24 minutes per game. His three-point shooting was horrendous (27.4 percent), and he was shooting it in volume (5.1 attempts per game), which led to his overall field goal percentage tank to under 40. When he was playing to his strengths, however, Kilpatrick was night and day. His numbers would’ve looked better if he didn’t fall in love with the outside shot.
Santa Cruz traded him to the Delaware 87ers, Philadelphia’s affiliate, and he seemed like a whole new player. There were radical improvements all around, especially from downtown. That atrocious number of 27.4 shot up to almost 41. Kilpatrick also became a borderline beast inside the arc, converting on 54.5 percent of his two-point shots. Despite not being a great passer or defender, he was looking like legitimate NBA prospect and was able to find himself with an NBA franchise.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were the team that picked him up, and the circumstances were rather unfortunate. The T-Wolves had four players out with injuries, and the NBA granted them a hardship exception, allowing them to add a 16th player to their roster. Kilpatrick became that guy and signed a ten-day contract on March 19. His debut came that evening.
While it wasn’t a guarantee that he’d remain in the league, Kilpatrick was given an opportunity to showcase his abilities against NBA competition. He saw the court for ten minutes in his first game, and the 15-53 Timberwolves pulled out a 95-92 victory over a Knicks team that was struggling just as much. Three nights later, on the first half of a back-to-back, he didn’t play against Charlotte. Versus Utah the following night, Kilpatrick lit up the scoreboard, torching the Jazz for 13 points on 4/7 shooting in just 19 minutes; Minnesota squeaked out a 106-104 victory.
His clock with Minnesota was ticking and the final days of his contract included two games–one against the Lakers, followed by a home game versus the Rockets. The production level took a hit despite Kilpatrick’s minutes remaining the same. Over those final two games, he totaled just nine points on 25 percent shooting.
He returned to the 87ers and finished out the 2014-15 D-League season with averages of 16.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 40.6 from three.
Next: Summer 2015