In a significant shift, Chris Paul, a veteran of 18 NBA seasons, is expected to begin his tenure. Chris Paul likely to start for Golden State Warriors as a starter. Throughout his illustrious career, Paul has never come off the bench, making this transition an intriguing development.
This decision to start Paul alongside Stephen Curry in the backcourt is not driven solely by his capabilities as a starting player, but rather, it raises questions about who he will displace in the starting lineup. With Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green firmly in place, it leaves Andrew Wiggins or Kevon Looney as the potential odd man out. Most signs point to Looney assuming a reserve role, a choice that might pose challenges for a team that already faces size disadvantages in many matchups.
Chris Paul Likely to Start for Golden State Warriors
The Warriors, under Steve Kerr’s leadership, favor a small-ball approach that has yielded considerable success. However, Looney played a pivotal role in the team’s post-superteam era, contributing significantly to their 2022 championship win. While Paul may see minutes in short bursts, his integration into the starting lineup could disrupt the synergy Looney shares with the rest of the starters.
The statistics underscore the effectiveness of the Warriors’ starting five, consisting of Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, Green, and Looney. They outperformed opponents by a remarkable 22.1 points per 100 possessions during the regular season, making them the most dominant five-man lineup in the NBA. In the 2022 postseason, this lineup maintained a stellar plus-17.1 net rating per 100 possessions, emphasizing its consistency and dominance.
Considering the potential risks associated with breaking up this formidable lineup, especially at the start of games, the Warriors face a significant decision. Their margin for error has diminished, and tampering with their most reliable unit could impact their overall performance.
Should Paul indeed begin the season as a starter, Kerr will closely monitor the situation. The competitive Western Conference leaves no room for complacency, with playoff spots and top-six seeds far from guaranteed. Each minute of gameplay holds importance, and while benching Paul if he underperforms is an option, it may come too late if the team falls into an early deficit.
The outcome remains uncertain, but initiating Paul as a starter, if that’s the path chosen, carries substantial risks and potential consequences for the Warriors.