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Preview: What if Eric Paschall outplays Ja Morant?

Warriors bring their 7-game losing streak to Memphis and their impressive rookie, Ja Morant

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers

Still woefully short-handed, Golden State continues their road trip looking for their first win since November 4th. Nothing is easy for this Golden State Warriors team. After failing to get a win against equally bad (and equally short-handed) New Orleans Pelicans, the Warriors get another good shot at a win tonight when they take on the rebuilding Memphis Grizzlies.

Memphis is a comparatively robust 5-8 on the season, mostly behind the strong showing of rookie Ja Morant and his team-high 18.4 points per game. But Golden State has their own promising rookie. Though he’s less heralded, Eric Paschall is the only rookie to log multiple 30+ point games this season; and with the absence of D’Angelo Russell for at least the next two weeks, he will likely take the lead on offense.


GAME DETAILS

WHO: Golden State Warriors (2-12) at Memphis Grizzlies (5-8)

WHERE: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN

WHEN: Tuesday November 19, 2019; 5 pm PST

WATCH: NBC Sports Bay Area


The tank rolls on

Here at Golden State of Mind, we’ve taken a sanguine, almost gleeful approach to discussing the tough season. After all, as my ex-military Dad used to say, “embrace the suck.” But as the losses begin to mount, everyone starts to get fidgety, from upper management and coaches all the way down to the players. Sitting on a loss streak and watching it grow is never fun, but when you are as bad as this current iteration of the Warriors are and there’s no end in sight? It can get downright disheartening.

So they’ll try, as always, to win tonight against a team that they could conceivably beat if things go our way.

But here are the problems that the Warriors are going to keep bumping in to:

1.) The defense is still really not good at all and is, in fact very, very bad;

2.) The offense is also faltering.

The first point is the most problematic in my opinion, just based on how historically bad Golden State has been. Well... they have been, but they also are now too. Here is a great piece of data visualization from Shane Young. This is net rating, but you can see how the offense and defense both factor into the overall result:

Shane Young, via twitter: https://twitter.com/YoungNBA/status/1196315499342237696

That’s our vaunted Golden State Warriors down there on the lower left, practically hanging off the page because the defense this year is so bad. It’s still early in the season, but the Warriors have been literally the worst defense defense in the history of the NBA according to a fairly basic metric (these “defensive rating” values are simply points given per 100 possessions). The Warriors have been sitting down there in the history books now for weeks so just getting to ‘bad’ from ‘awful’ on defense would be huge.

But you/we/I have to appreciate the hand Golden State has been dealt.

These players on the court, the rotations you see... that’s not the Warriors plan A, or B, or C. Injuries have changed everything for this team.

Coach Steve Kerr side-complimented Jordan Poole yesterday by saying he should be playing in the D League. As transcribed by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports, here’s Kerr after practice:

“Jordan... should be coming into a situation where he’s getting shots off Steph Curry or Klay Thompson; or playing behind those guys, learning from them every day in practice,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters after practice Tuesday. “Maybe making an occasional visit to Santa Cruz to get a lot of playing time.

”That’s how ideally you want to raise a young guy, but we don’t have that luxury. So we’re throwing him right into the fire. He’s working his tail off. He’s doing a great job.

”This league is unforgiving for a young player. He’s just gotta keep doing what he’s doing. Keep watching film and keep learning from his experience. He’s gonna get better.

Poole, drafted 28th in the draft this summer, is playing big minutes and shouldering an oversized load. It’s not going well.

In around 27 minutes per game, he’s averaging 8.6 points, with 2.6 rebounds and 2 assists. Again, that is most definitely not good. His Effective Field Goal Percentage (which balances the value of three-pointers) is almost comically bad, at 32.9%. Normally, he’d be behind the Klay Thompson/Russell/Robinson/Burks wing rotation. Instead he’s playing almost 30 minutes and putting up around 10 shots a night.

Draymond Green, the sole remaining champion healthy enough to play, is not thriving in his new role either. He’s hurt, surrounded by less talent than he’s used to, and struggling. I’m not worried about him because of how much slack he’s earned here - but it’s fair to point out that Green has not been able to find ways to be especially useful on offense.

Paschall versus Morant

While Eric Paschall is a diamond in the rough, Ja Morant is a cultivated beauty of basketball acumen. He’s probably (certainly?) the leading rookie of the year candidate, with healthy averages of 18.3 efficient points, 5.8 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game.

Morant is the real deal. Though just barely starting his rookie campaign, he’s got nice handles, and is already hitting game winners. Morant leads all rookies in both scoring and assists... you get the idea. He was the 2nd overall pick in the draft, and he’s playing like he belongs among the NBA elite.

The Grizzlies traded their stars away for assets, and one of the things they came away with was Ja Morant.

Paschall is not that.

A four-year player in college, the Warriors grabbed him in the second round of the draft (the 41st pick overall) and though he figured to play some part in the Warriors plans this season, injuries to key players thrust him into action early. But surprisingly, Paschall has emerged as one of the few bright spots for the Warriors this season.

Two young players

Prediction

Sure, why not. Let’s go ahead and say the Warriors win this game somehow. The defense will have to tighten up a lot, but if Green and Poole can hit some shots, I think Golden State can win.