Chris Paul’s impact at the Golden State Warriors has been profound early this season, and it took another important step in the 120-109 victory over the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on Monday.
The 38-year-old has thrived in a new sixth-man role with the Warriors, but has done so while shooting the ball at a career-worst level. That began to turn on Monday as Paul put a rough 5-point, 2-10 shooting outing against the Cleveland Cavaliers behind him.
Veteran point-guard Chris Paul has already had a major impact for the Golden State Warriors, with optimism it can grow thanks to improved shooting numbers.
The 12-time All-Star entered Monday’s game shooting 31.8% from the floor and an even more dismal 7.7% from three-point range. He was controlling games with exquisite playmaking amid an extraordinary assist-to-turnover ratio, but Paul simply hasn’t been able to buy a bucket for much of the season.
In encouraging signs of a move back to his efficient best, Paul finished with a season-high 17 points on 6-9 shooting. He also added five rebounds, six assists and was a +13 in a game where he and Stephen Curry pushed Golden State past a competitive young Detroit squad.
Paul’s scoring also came at crucial times — his pair of three-point and mid-range jumpshots were all the Warriors could find offensively over the last few minutes of a close opening period. He then returned late in the game to shut the gate on any hopes of an upset win for the home team.
With the Warriors up just four with less than 90 seconds left, Paul nailed a patented baseline jumpshot to extend the breathing room. He then all but sealed the game on the following possession, drawing a foul and subsequently hitting two free-throws that pushed the lead to eight.
The 19-year veteran has shot 47.1% from the floor and 36.7% from three across his career. At some point you’d expect his shot to start falling, something Paul is confidence will eventuate.
"“If you keep shooting eventually, hopefully the law of averages. I probably ain’t shot it this bad in 18 years so I like may chances,” Paul said in the postgame."
Given his positive impact to date, and the fact the Warriors have moved to 6-2, Paul’s inefficient shooting should actually serve as a danger to the rest of the league as he searches for a first NBA championship.