The Golden State Warriors have no shortage of star players.
There’s Steph Curry, the two-time MVP, face of the franchise, and consensus greatest shooter of all time. Klay Thompson, a five-time All-Star, and perhaps the second-greatest shooter ever. Draymond Green, a three-time All-Star and one of the league’s all-time great defensive players. D’Angelo Russell, an All-Star before his 23rd birthday.
What they do lack, however, is healthy star players.
With all four of those players sidelined for Monday night’s contest against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Warriors were forced to start three rookies, alongside two unproven players trying to find their NBA footing.
And where there wasn’t star talent when the game began, there was when it concluded. In just his seventh professional game, second-round pick Eric Paschall was the best player on a court that featured Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. He poured in 34 points on 11-19 shooting, and paired it with 13 rebounds and some high-quality defense.
Chase Center was rocking as the Warriors picked up the win. They chanted “M-V-P” for the youngster. It was a veritable Paschall party, and that’s before getting to the fact that it was, quite literally, the rookie’s birthday.
For one night, at least, he was the star that Warriors fans have grown accustomed to watching.
As for the more proven stars? Well, they were impressed, happy, and rather celebratory.
Curry, who was not at the game, took to social media to congratulate Paschall on his big night, and to send a shout out to the entire team for the win.
On a side note, it’s not entirely clear why Curry was at home rather than at the arena, though he said in an Instagram story that it was “weird” to not be there.
Green was at the arena, and was seen congratulating Paschall many times after the big night, as were Thompson and Russell. Green still took to Instagram afterwards to let the world know how special his rookie teammate is.
It’s pretty clear that Paschall is beloved by his teammates. And it’s pretty damn clear that he can play basketball.