Stock Soaring: Chris Paul
Speaking of Father Time, he doesn’t seem to have a firm grip on the Warriors’ other Hall of Fame point guard either. When Golden State traded for Chris Paul this summer, it was seen as some combination of salary dump and preparation for a future trade; then it morphed into an on-court experiment worth trying; now it’s one of the greatest successes of the entire NBA offseason.
Paul has been the second unit’s conductor after moving to the bench in the Warriors’ third game, and he has been absolutely brilliant at it. The Warriors are used to losing ground when Curry sits, but Paul has instead flipped the script, amassing a team-best +51 total plus-minus across five games, and +44 over the last three games since moving to the bench.
The players around Paul are thriving as well, set up in advantageous positions by his pinpoint passing. Dario Saric looks spry and is able to make a defensive impact because Paul is using him well on offense. Moses Moody is shooting the ball well and on increased volume. Jonathan Kuminga is hitting 37.5 percent of his triples. Trayce Jackson-Davis nearly got a double-double in his second career game, often on the receiving end of Paul passes.
Paul is 38-years-old and has a nasty injury history, so the Warriors will likely need to play without him for some parts of the season. For a player who many thought was done heading out of last season, however, Paul looks rejuvenated, competitive and ready to win his first ring.