The Golden State Warriors made their biggest lineup change of the preseason to date on Wednesday, with Steve Kerr moving veteran point-guard Chris Paul to the bench in the team’s 116-115 win over the Sacramento Kings.
Paul’s role at the Warriors has been the most contentious point of discussion this offseason, having never come off the bench in his 18-year career. The early return was good against the Kings though, with the 12-time All-Star improving throughout the game before playing a major role in Golden State’s comeback over the closing minutes.
Steve Kerr is adamant that Chris Paul’s move to the bench isn’t necessarily permanent ahead of the Golden State Warriors’ regular season opener.
Paul finished with 13 points, six rebounds and nine assists in nearly 30 minutes, shooting 4-6 from the floor that included making all three of his three-point attempts. The 38-year-old was also an equal team-high +9, proving one of the biggest positives from the one-point win.
While Paul’s place in or out of the starting lineup will be a talking point, his presence in closing units is just as worthy of conversation. He was part of that combination alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Dario Saric on Wednesday night, with the Warriors overcoming a seven-point deficit in the last two minutes.
Speaking before Wednesday’s game, head coach Steve Kerr confirmed the Warriors will continue to try different lineups ahead of next season’s opening night tip-off against the Phoenix Suns.
"“Conversations have been happening all throughout camp. We’ll do something entirely different on Friday. All we’re doing is looking at different options and different combinations. Chris has been amazing every day of camp — asking great questions, trying to fit in,” Kerr said."
With Draymond Green expected to come off the bench briefly after he recovers from an ankle injury, most expected Paul would hold a starting role at least until his return. However, the strong preseason form of Jonathan Kuminga may have shifted those assumptions.
The 21-year-old led the Warriors in scoring throughout the first three preseason games, before adding 18 points, six rebounds and two assists in another positive display against the Kings. Golden State have one more preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.