Mike Dunleavy Jr.’s first official act as the Golden State Warriors’ top basketball decision-maker was to trade home-grown guard Jordan Poole for future Hall of Famer Chris Paul. It’s a smart decision since it provides the Warriors with a better chance of capturing their fifth championship in ten years.
The Warriors have a dependable offensive weapon in Paul, who gives Golden State with the ideal change-of-pace ballhandler behind Stephen Curry. He also gives intangibles that fellow guard Poole does not, such as leadership.
“Chris improves teams wherever he goes.” “He just simplifies the game,” former NBA player Matt Barnes recently told Bay Area radio station 95.7 The Game.
In the long run, Golden State loses out on this transaction. Poole has a lot of talent and is a scoring machine. Trading a 24-year-old who has the potential to become an All-Star for Paul, 38, who has been injured in four of his last six postseason trips, does not bode well for the long run.
However, the long future is irrelevant right now. All that matters now is maximizing Curry’s championship window as a 35-year-old once-in-a-generation great. In 2023-24, CP3 will likely be a more capable and productive player than Poole was this season.
Last season, Paul averaged 13.9 points, 8.9 assists, and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc for the Suns. Poole, on the other hand, averaged 20.4 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 33.6 percent from three. He scores more than Paul, but Paul possesses a skill set that is unrivaled on this roster.
Many commentators note Golden State’s run-and-gun style and Paul’s patient, surgical attacks and decision-making. But, in moderation, Paul’s style should benefit the Warriors.
Golden State will not change its essence, but slowing down its offensive game and running pick-and-rolls are not bad ideas. Last season, the Warriors’ second unit struggled severely, owing primarily to poor shot selection and turnovers. That will change quickly with Paul, who excels at involving teammates in attack.
Warriors player Draymond Green recently stated on Paul George’s podcast, “Our team last year didn’t have a variety in ways it could score, and I think CP adds another thing to the menu.”
Golden State is obviously taking a risk. It would be a nightmare if Paul broke down again this season and was unable to complete another postseason run. The Warriors and owner Joe Lacob, on the other hand, have complete faith in Rick Celebrini, the team’s director of sports medicine and performance.
Aside from the 2019 NBA Finals, when Golden State’s roster fell apart due to season-ending injuries to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, the club has been incredibly effective in keeping its stars healthy.
If Golden State can keep Paul healthy, he’ll be a significant upgrade over Poole in the short term.