The Golden State Warriors remain front and center in the upcoming NBA season. Fans and critics alike are waiting as to how the team will respond from its turbulent 2022-23 campaign, which began with team turmoil, continued with a season-long dreadfulness on the road, and ended in a second-round, playoff courtesy of the Los Angeles Lakers, a play-in squad.
Changes were obviously needed, and the front office did what they believe is right. They traded away their breakout player from the 2022 championship season, Jordan Poole, in exchange for future Hall-of-Famer and NBA ageless wonder, 38-year-old point guard Chris Paul.
It’s been months, but Paul in Warriors threads still looks weird.
Nevertheless, the ‘Point God’ is there to help put stability back in the once-unflappable offense. While old age will always be a concern, not to mention his history of injuries, it’s not lost as to how much lift has Paul given to basically every team he’s been on. He’s been so good at manning the point, he eben brought the supposedly rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder into the playoffs in 2020, and was only a couple of plays away of making the second round.
With all their previous battles, Kerr knows Paul a lot, so he was open to the media about his plans for his new point guard. Here’s what he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic:
“We’re going to run plenty of pick-and-roll because Chris is one of the best pick-and-roll players in the world.”
Obviously, putting Paul at his most comfortable is the way to go. Once he’s in there, you just watch him excel and make his teammates better. Big man Kevon Looney, maybe Andrew Wiggins, and others will benefit nicely, especially since they may have expanded opportunities with Draymond Green out for 4-6 weeks due to an ankle injury
Some are at odds as to how Paul’s ball-dominant ways can mesh with Stephen Curry’s style, although one can easily argue that things may be better for him since he’ll have less burden now that another excellent ball-handler will be there.
Klay Thompson: Power Forward?
Kerr’s vision for Klay Thompson, meanwhile, is a whole lot different. It’s quite unexpected because the forward is about to turn 34 years old, has had serious injuries that caused him to miss an entire season, and is simply too small to do the job, even if it’s just for spot duty while Green is out.
“[If we proceed with the Paul-Curry-Thompson-Wiggins-Looney lineup], Klay would play the four man. He’s so physically strong, he’s so used to guarding posting players after switches, so we’re thinking Klay can guard the four this year. We’re gonna put him in coverage where he’s having to defend the pick-and-roll as a four. That would be a different job for him, but we’re planning on doing some of that and see what he does.”
Can you imagine Thompson bodying up Giannis Antetokounmpo on the block? It could be lead the world of pain, not just for Klay, but the whole team. Then again, Kerr and his staff have thrived through the small-ball system, so it may work nicely for all we know. They played fast, jacked up threes, and went small when most were against it, and proceeded to steamroll the league.
In the end, the 2023-24 season will be interesting for the Dubs. Their performance will say a lot about their remaining championship window and if they indeed have another ring in them.