While it may have been less than 13 minutes of play, it was hard to envisage Chris Paul’s Golden State Warriors debut being anymore positive than what was on display on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Starting alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney, Paul effectively blended his controlled, ball-handling style within the Warriors’ fast-paced, high three-point shooting system.
Chris Paul’s impressive debut for the Golden State Warriors reignites Steve Kerr’s starting lineup issue ahead of the regular season.
The 38-year-old played solely with the four other starters, finishing the game with six points, four rebounds and five assists. The second-unit was ran by rookie guard Brandin Podziemski, with Dario Saric and Gary Payton II providing the experience in that lineup.
Most have assumed Paul would take on a sixth man role with the Warriors this season, but a Draymond Green ankle injury has initially pushed back the timeline to make that decision.
The fact the 12-time All-Star looked so comfortable among the starting lineup is undoubtedly a positive, but it only makes it more difficult for head coach Steve Kerr once a choice does have have to be made.
Speaking after the game, Kerr couldn’t have been more glowing when talking about Paul and what he brought to the Warriors in his debut.
"“Chris is amazing. He keeps the game so easy. He’s such a great passer. There’s a pace to the game that is fun to watch as a coach where you just know he’s going to make the right play over and over,” Kerr said."
A decision on the starting lineup may come quicker than previously thought, with Green reportedly making good progress from his ankle injury. After previous expectation to the contrary, ESPN’s Kendra Andrews has stated the franchise is ‘sure’ the 33-year-old will be back by opening night against the Phoenix Suns on October 24.
Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, Paul will be tasked with running the second-unit when Curry is off the floor. Expect him to get more time with Golden State’s younger players as the preseason progresses.