1. Trayce Jackson-Davis
In Kevon Looney’s absence, rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis took full advantage in his first start for the Warriors. The 57th overall pick faced the challenge of guarding All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis, performing more than admirably particularly during the first-half.
Sabonis finished with just 12 points on 4-10 shooting in 34 minutes, with Jackson-Davis showcasing his strength as a post defender and general positioning on that end of the floor. The 23-year-old admitted to getting tired at times in the second-half, leading to some fouls a couple of which were unwarranted.
Jackson-Davis was also active on the offensive end, having taken an equal team-high 14 field-goal attempts before he departed the floor in the closing minutes. He did miss some shots at the rim he should have made, resulting in a slightly disappointing 6-14 shooting. Even still, Jackson-Davis’ 13-point, 10-rebound double-double was mightily impressive and is a nice building block for his season ahead.
2. Chris Paul
On the other end of the career spectrum, Chris Paul came off the bench for the first time on Wednesday night. If you were concerned about his willingness to do so and subsequent production, they had to be eased somewhat by his performance.
The 38-year-old got better as the game went on, before playing a big role in Golden State’s closing unit as they overcame a seven-point deficit with less than two minutes remaining.
Paul finished with 13 points, six rebounds and nine assists, shooting 4-6 from the floor and 3-3 from three-point range. Not that it’s a major surprise, but bench Chris Paul looked like regular Chris Paul. That’s a major positive after a season in which Jordan Poole’s production varied significantly between a starting and sixth-man role. There’s a long way to go, but this was a strong first step.