The Golden State Warriors season has been rough. But it hasn’t been entirely devoid of silver linings and exciting developments.
Yes, the team may have the worst record in the league, and yes, they may have suffered serious injuries to every single player on the roster who is an above-average NBA player, but they’ve also gotten to play with house money.
That house money and plethora of injuries has opened the door for the team’s four rookies. Unfortunately one of those rookies, Alen Smailagic, has been part of the injury crew, so he’s yet to suit up (though that should change soon). The other three - number 28 pick Jordan Poole, number 41 pick Eric Paschall, and undrafted rookie Ky Bowman - have all gotten plenty of run.
The results have been mixed, but more positive than negative. Poole has struggled mightily with the one thing he’s supposed to do well (shoot), but he’s looked surprisingly strong in the areas where he was supposed to struggle. Paschall looks like a future starter, and Bowman looks like someone who will be on the roster for years to come.
Let’s check out how they stack up with the other rookies in the league in some basic statistical categories. These should be taken with a good pinch of salt, as they’re small sample sizes, and stats that require a lot of context.
All stats are through Monday’s games.
Injuries to Steph Curry, Draymond Green, D’Angelo Russell, Kevon Looney, Damion Lee, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alec Burks, and Jacob Evans III have opened up lots of playing time for Bowman, Paschall, and Poole, who somewhat hilariously each rank in the top five in minutes played for the Warriors.
But how do they stack up to other rookies in terms of time on the court? Well . . .
Total minutes played
Paschall - 530 minutes (2nd among rookies)
Poole - 473 minutes (5th)
Bowman - 393 minutes (12th)
That’s a big head start on development for the Warriors youngsters.
While Poole has often struggled to score the ball, Paschall and Bowman have been far better than expected on that end of the court.
Points per game
Paschall - 16.5 ppg (3rd among rookies)
Bowman - 9.1 ppg (12th)
Poole - 8.9 ppg (13th)
All three have gotten a chunk of their points from beyond the arc, though not particularly efficiently (more on that in a moment):
Poole - 24 threes made (8th among rookies)
Bowman - 19 threes made (10th)
Paschall - 10 threes made (22nd)
As mentioned, the threes haven’t dropped at a great rate for the rookies (except Bowman!), so let’s start there.
Three-point percentage (Min: 10 attempts)
Bowman - 44.2% on threes (5th among rookies)
Poole - 24.5% on threes (24th)
Paschall - 23.3% on threes (26th)
Want some optimism for those threes? Free throw percentage is one of the strongest indicators of whether a player can develop a strong three-point shot. And, well . . .
Free throw percentage (Min: 10 attempts)
Bowman - 92.3% on free throws (3rd among rookies)
Poole - 89.2% on free throws (4th)
Paschall - 80.8% on free throws (10th)
Add it all up, and . . .
True shooting percentage (Min: 10 games and 10 minutes per game)
Paschall - 57.8% TS (12th among rookies)
Bowman - 56.7% TS (14th)
Poole - 38.3% TS (31st)
It’s safe to say that all three players have impressed with their playmaking skills. Poole has often looked like a high-caliber passer in the making, while Paschall has created some Draymond comparisons given his size and position. And Bowman has played the part of a point guard well.
Assist percentage (Min: 10 games and 10 minutes per game)
Bowman: 18.1% assist rate (5th among rookies)
Poole - 13.4% assist rate (11th)
Paschall - 7.9% assist rate (26th)
All of these stats are position-dependent, hence Paschall not ranking well in assists, despite impressing there. And that’s certainly the case with rebounding, where Poole and Bowman play smaller positions.
Rebound percentage (Min: 10 games and 10 minutes per game)
Paschall - 8.2% rebound rate (12th among rookies)
Bowman - 4.9% rebound rate (27th)
Poole - 4.8% rebound rate (28th)
Again, take all of these stats with a generous dose of salt, and a whole bunch of context. But they sure are interesting.
And the development certainly is taking place before our eyes.