The Golden State Warriors have had an awful start to their season. One positive standout from the first two weeks is the impact of rookie Eric Paschall.
As the injuries continue to pile up for the Golden State Warriors, they need all the help they can get on both ends of the floor.
Due to the Warriors’ average age being about four years younger (24.5) as a team in comparison to the last three seasons (28.5), the rookies and newcomers need to step up in the absence of the star players. Coach Steve Kerr is facing his most difficult season yet as he tries to coach the youngest Warriors team since the 2002-03 season.
Paschall’s current impact
Once Draymond injured a ligament in his finger, the 23-year-old Villanova forward immediately stepped up and delivered results.
Through eight games, he is averaging 17.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.5 blocks and 0.5 steals in 30.1 minutes per game while shooting 56.8 percent overall, 33.3 percent from 3-point range and 88.2 percent at the foul line.
Paschall’s best performance yet was on his 23rd birthday, when he recorded a career-high 34 points, 13 rebounds and one block, on 11-of-19 shooting, going 4-for-6 from deep and 8-for-8 at the line in 40 minutes during a surprising victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Besides the statistic above, Paschall became the first Warriors rookie in many years to accomplish two other Warriors rookie feats. He was the first rookie since Curry to record back-to-back 25-point games while also being the first Golden State first-year plater to record at least 34 points and 13 rebounds since Chris Webber did so in 1994.
Draymond Green’s doppelgänger has shown that he can have an impact also being an undersized power forward at 6-6 and 255 pounds. In comparison to Draymond, who is the same height but weighs about 25 pounds less, Paschall has shown his smooth yet reliable jump shot, ability to attack the rim and rebounding ability in his four games as a starter.
Both forwards are not only similar in size for their position, but were also drafted six picks apart in the second round of their respective rookie seasons. Kerr has voiced the similarities between both Draymond and Paschall, which is quite interesting because the former is known primarily for his defense while the latter is known for his offensive ability.
Despite this point of the season being a small sample size, here’s a chart comparing Paschall and Green’s averages this season thus far.
In the three games Green has been out, Paschall has averaged 26.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.7 blocks in 36.1 minutes per game. while shooting 51.9 percent overall, 6-for-15 (40 percent) from deep and 85.7 percent (18-for21) at the line. In those three games alone, Paschall has etched his way into being an early Rookie of the Year candidate this season.
An alarming stat to mention is that through the five games played before his injury, Draymond has not recorded a block. Whereas Paschall has recored four blocks thus far, which shows just how much more impactful Paschall has been than Draymond early on.
Impact moving forward
As several Warriors recover from the sidelines, Paschall needs to keep up this level of production if they have any chance of maintaining a decent record before Curry’s expected return in February.
Eight games into the season, Paschall is second on the Warriors in scoring behind D’Angelo Russell (17 ppg) and 39th in the NBA in effective field goal percentage (.602). Additionally, Paschall is leading the Warriors in win shares (0.6), which speaks volumes to how positive his impact on the Warriors has been.
While Paschall is more aggressive than Draymond on the offensive end, reaching Draymond’s defensive intensity and skill would surely increase Paschall’s value on this much younger Warriors team.
Kerr recently spoke about the comparisons between Draymond and Paschall, giving a detailed description on why they chose to draft him this year.
“We really liked Eric because of his strength and his power. He was undersized but these days the undersized guys at that four-position are always really strong and they’ve got that wingspan. We’ve seen it here for the last seven, eight years with Draymond Green.
“We felt like Eric had a chance to have a similar impact as a second-round pick, someone you could plug in and play, particularly as he played four years of college in a great program, won a national championship.”
In other words, Kerr and the Warriors management drafted Paschall because of his similarities to Draymond, the amount of success they’ve had with him (Draymond), and to have him as their future power forward.
Former Warriors center Zaza Pachulia has recently praised Paschall, mentioning his level of maturity while comparing him to Al Horford, as both players spent four years in college before entering the NBA.
One quality that only a minuscule amount of rookies possess ahead of their peers is maturity, which will continue to be the guide to Paschall’s improvement as a player during this first season.