TORONTO (CBS SF) — There was a time when Patrick McCaw loomed large in the Golden State Warriors future.

The former UNLV star was coveted by the Warriors, but they didn’t have a pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Within minutes of being drafted by Milwaukee with the 38th pick, Golden State pounced. They spent more than $2 million to purchase McCaw’s draft rights.

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His size, quickness and potential intrigued then Warriors executive Jerry West. It appeared the St. Louis native was in for a long run with the team, initially as a key contributor off the bench but possibility as a future replacement for veteran forward Andre Iguodala.

Then came a frightening back injury in a late-season game against the Sacramento Kings. He recovered in time for the playoffs, but played sparingly as Golden State rolled to the NBA title.

McCaw became a restricted free agent in the off-season and suddenly vanished. He didn’t return teammates calls and ghosted the front office as they attempted to resign him. Eventually, Cleveland signed him and then cut him after just a handful of games. He ended up in Toronto and has played little since joining the Raptors.

On Wednesday, McCaw found himself surrounded by microphones at the NBA Finals media day. As reporters peppered him with questions, McCaw’s demeanor was a mixture of defiance and resolve.

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“Like I said, I’m here now,” he told reporters. “The decisions I decided to make, I made them for myself. From the outside looking in, you can say if it was right or wrong. For me, I’m here. I’m in a great position. Toronto embraced me. My teammates, the coaching staff. It’s been great.”

But McCaw admits the journey has had its twists and turns.

“It’s been an up and down year for me,” he said. “As a kid, just handling everything and figuring out the business side of basketball and how everything works. But like I said I’ve done so much growing.”

“Everything that transpire this year for me has been kind of crazy,” McCaw added. “I’ve seen a lot in the last 4-5 months that people don’t really get a chance to see because they don’t take that chance, take that risk. Going to Cleveland, being waived and then coming to Toronto, it was just a lot going on for me.”

When asked if the decision to reject the Warriors offer was strictly a business decision, McCaw said: “No, not at all. That was the biggest thing for me, I was a 21-year-old kid going into the summer and just trying to figure out what I wanted. It was all of from personal standpoint. It’s tough when you are that young and you see things in only your way. I wasn’t too aware of how everything worked. But I knew what I wanted for myself.”

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“I can’t go back and try to change things, but can only go through what I’ve been through and learn.”