Despite reports from Marc J. Spears on KNBR that the “expectation” is that Chris Paul will start, conventional wisdom has assumed that the Warriors’ new point guard will come off the bench.
As we learned on Sunday, he doesn’t seem to share that assumption.
“Uh, you coaching?” Paul responded to a reporter when asked about his comfortability coming off the bench. “I don’t know what the situation is going to be yet. I think that’ll be for us to figure out once we get going.”
When asked as a follow-up if he’d be willing to come off the bench, Paul didn’t directly answer the question.
“Like I said, it’ll be a conversation for us when camp starts or whatnot,” Paul said. “Me and Steve have talked, but that ain’t something where you’ll be like ‘What up man, you startin’ or coming off the bench?’ You know what I mean? So, we’ll figure all that stuff out in camp.”
It’s hard to square how Paul starting makes a ton of sense, other than to placate a player who’s never done it. The Warriors’ starting lineup with Kevon Looney has been one of the best, if not the best, lineup in basketball for the better part of two seasons. The team’s issue last year was their bench led by Jordan Poole, and a straight swap of Paul in that unit would seem to provide the stability they need.
Paul with the starting lineup would seem to hurt Golden State’s defense in the backcourt, as well as putting a ton of pressure on Draymond Green to log heavy minutes as a small-ball center.
Sure, the Warriors could start Paul and then send him to the bench after a few minutes, but if doing so compromises the start of games, that wouldn’t be worth it.
Paul is probably being honest that his role hasn’t been sorted out yet, but he also revealed what he wants it to be.