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Warriors rookies missed the memo that they’re supposed to tank

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Vote for which hooper from last night is your Warrior Wonder

Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

This is the season for which the rest of the league has been dreaming. After being bullied for five years, they realize the Warriors are more vulnerable than they’ve been since the 2011-12 season -- the last time they missed the playoffs -- and want their piece of the franchise that has enjoyed more June champagne than any other since the Shaq-Kobe Lakers at the turn of the millennium.

“Warriors will take break from greatness after years at top of NBA” by the legend Monte Poole, 10/23/19

Coming into this season, the Golden State Warriors seemed due for some comeuppance after dominating the NBA for the better parts of the last five years. After a few blowout losses, Stephen Curry broke his hand, and the young, reeling Dubs appeared to be buried under an avalanche of injuries and hubristic misfortune.

The reigning Western Conference champions had been reduced to a mere laughingstock; their fall from grace apparently signed, sealed, and delivered by the basketball gods. Bandwagon Release Forms were quickly distributed, and league observers (like me) generally embraced the idea of a tanking, healing Warriors season.

Apparently, none of this measured internet conjecture penetrated Golden State’s locker room, as they traded haymakers with a tough Portland Trail Blazers team and emerged victorious in their first Chase Center win.

Golden State’s nine-man rotation last night featured six players 25 or younger. Here are the standouts from an enthralling win by a brand new unit showing a killer instinct for the first time.

Who is your Warrior Wonder from the victory over the Blazers?

Eric Paschall

If you haven’t read Joe Viray’s brilliant piece on Paschall’s glowing night, “The Golden Breakdown: Eric Paschall has proven that he is already a dependable NBA player”, I encourage you to check it out pronto:

There is no doubt that Paschall’s strength and frame that were cultivated during his four years at Villanova played a huge part in this breakout game. Save for Willie Cauley-Stein, Marquese Chriss, and Omari Spellman, the Warriors are sorely lacking in paint physicality. While not being as tall as those three, Paschall’s ability to play bigger and taller than expected played a huge part in the win against the Blazers.

If he can continue to show the same kind of domineering physicality against other teams, then the Warriors might very well have their next budding star on their hands.

Paschall’s final stat line: 34 points, 13 rebounds on 11-of-19 shooting from the field.

Joe described Paschall’s force like a bruising bulldozer; can you believe the rookie also shot 4-of-6 from beyond the arc? Add in his perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line, and dare I say the Warriors have quickly found a scoring replacement for Kevin Dura—((gets electroshocked)).

Ky Bowman

Bowman had his fingerprints all over the contest, scoring 19 points and orchestrating the Dubs offense with 8 assists. His ability to get downhill penetration and finish around them rim forced Portland’s defense to stay in scramble mode all night.

He also did a solid job in harassing Portland’s guards the full 94-foot length of the court, showing a tremendous amount of energy and tenacity. That edge clearly got under Portland’s skin, as giant center Hassan Whiteside threw repeated elbows Bowman’s way. Clearly, Bowman wasn’t concerned.

Bowman is on a two-way contract with the team, splitting time between the Warriors and the G-League, fighting to make a full time roster spot. Performances like last night’s will go a long way towards forcing the Dubs to consider him down the road.

Damion Lee

The team’s energizer bunny provided a spark off the bench, scoring 18 points on 4-of-8 shooting. He was aggressive, only attempting one triple, and getting to the free throw line to make 10-of-11 attempts. He was an active body on defense as well, recording two steals. Lee is proving himself to be a fine uptempo reserve option for this squad.

Jordan Poole

Poole is doing his best approximation of the Splash Bros’ offensive fearlessness. Poole shot 3-of-16 from the field, 2-of-9 from downtown, coming off every screen with a quick trigger or an aggressive dribble move. That aggression helped the Warriors maintain their spacing for drives-and-kicks, despite the tough shooting night. He went 8-for-8 from the free throw line, added five assists, and competed on the defensive end.

Oh yeah, he also let Damian Lillard know there’s another young gunner in the Bay.

Alec Burks

Burks is a necessary defensive wing presence as the Warriors figure out their team. Although he’s not a lockdown defender, the veteran has an understanding of the angles and body posture required to slow down an opposing ballhandler.

He also had two huge and-1 layups in the fourth quarter that kept the Dubs in control, showing a nice confidence in his scoring ability. He finished with 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field.

Honorable Mention: Everyone who played last night contributed something important, technically I could probably list everyone as a contender for the Warriors wonder. But I personally wanted to mention Omari Spellman, whose 7 point, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists in 15 minutes were punctuated by a cold 15-foot jumper that got Klay Thompson excited.

It’s always good to have a night where everybody has a chance at the Warrior Wonder!

Poll

Who was your Warrior Wonder in the win over the Blazers?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Ky Bowman
    (70 votes)
  • 0%
    Glen Robinson III
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Damion Lee
    (7 votes)
  • 86%
    Eric Paschall
    (659 votes)
  • 0%
    Alec Burks
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    Jordan Poole
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    Omari Spellman
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Willie Cauley-Stein
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Marquese Chriss
    (2 votes)
759 votes total Vote Now