With nearly two months having passed since the initial blockbuster report of Chris Paul’s move to the Golden State Warriors, no clarity has been given on the 12-time All-Star’s role with the franchise ahead of the 2023-24 season.
Most assume that despite having never come off the bench during his decorated 18-year career, Paul will simply fill the vacated sixth-man spot left by the man he was traded for — Jordan Poole.
However, while he has spoke publicly on multiple occasions since the trade took place, Paul is yet to show any major intent of accepting a bench role. In fact it’s been quite the opposite, either deflecting from questions or challenging those who insinuate it as a mere formality.
Chris Paul’s potential unwillingness to accept a sixth-man role with the Golden State Warriors is leaving many frustrated.
The reality is that it’s hardly a pressing issue right now. As Paul has reiterated, further clarity on his role will not become apparent until training camp. Yet his comments this season have already frustrated some who believe it shouldn’t even need to be a talking point.
Speaking on the latest episode of the ‘The Hoop Collective’ Podcast, ESPN reporter and analyst Tim MacMahon has urged the Warriors “to stop babying a 38-year-old”.
"“Listen, get your butt on the bench and come in as a sixth man and stop making a big deal about it. Like don’t make this hard on Steve Kerr and a lineup that’s got a freaking championship together”, MacMahon vehemently stated. “Dude, sacrifice your ego a little bit which you’ve told hundreds of teammates to do over the years.”"
The recently released NBA schedule makes matters even more intriguing, with Paul’s debut for the Warriors set to come against his former team when the Phoenix Suns arrive at Chase Center on October 24.
While it shouldn’t make a major difference in regard to the Paul situation, bringing him off the bench first up against his former team would be an early statement that could permeate across the league.
In 331 minutes together last season, Golden State’s usual starting five of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney recorded a 21.9 net rating. That was higher than any other five-man combination across the league that played more than 80 minutes, emphasizing their dominance despite the Warriors’ underwhelming 44-38 record.
The veteran point-guard’s willingness to accept a bench role will continue as one of the Warriors’ and the league’s major storylines as teams prepare for training camp in approximately six weeks time.