While there’s still some speculation regarding Chris Paul’s role with the Golden State Warriors next season, most assume the 12-time All-Star will take on the sixth-man duties vacated by the departed Jordan Poole.
Although Paul has never come off the bench throughout his illustrious 18-year career, it’s a role that he should take to with aplomb given the perimeter shooters around him and the Warriors’ need for a second-unit coordinator.
A team of ESPN analysts believe Chris Paul will win the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in his first season with the Golden State Warriors.
There might still be some questions on Paul’s fit with a franchise that was once his fierce rival, but that hasn’t stopped a team of NBA analysts predicting that he’ll take out the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award next season.
Asked to rank their top three choices (first-place receiving five points, second-place three points, and third-place one point) for each of the NBA’s six major awards, Paul received received 42 points and 26.9% of the first-place votes.
"“Our experts say the Golden State Warriors struck gold with point guard Chris Paul, who joins one of the deepest teams in the league. The 12-time All-Star is entering his 19th season, and although Paul has never come off the bench, his contributions as a reserve could strengthen the Warriors’ title chances”, the article states."
The ESPN experts have Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Austin Reaves was second favorite behind Paul, while Russell Westbrook’s late-season rejuvenation with the LA Clippers has seen him as the third favorite. Last year’s winner Malcolm Brogdon is sixth behind Tyler Herro, Immanuel Quickley and Malik Monk.
Even past his absolute prime and entering year 19, Paul is far too overqualified for a sixth-man role. Still, that’s where he’ll be expected to be behind fellow future hall-of-famers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
However, there may be a query on his eligibility as Golden State ensures their veteran core is fully healthy for what’s hoped is a sustained playoff campaign. The NBA has set new parameters on major awards, requiring players to have competed in at least 65 games to help reduce the recent ‘load management’ era that’s plagued the league. Paul made 59 appearances with the Suns last season, averaging 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
In Poole, the Warriors had one of the favorites for last season’s Sixth-Man of the Year. That never truly materialized however, with injuries to Curry and regular resting for Thompson meaning the 24-year-old started 43 of 82 games during the regular season.