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Turn that tank around! Eric Paschall returns against Blazers

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Is our hope misplaced? Probably, but remember that Paschall went off for a career-high 34 points in a win over Portland last month

Sure, the 2019-2020 Golden State Warriors are bad.

That’s it, actually. That’s my intro.

This team is really horrible and hard to watch. Nearly as painful as finding out you and all your coworkers got fired over Twitter. This season started off bad, and only got worse from there.

But like all things in this cold hard world, there’s a silver lining. While the Warriors plummet to the worst record in the league, they are looking at a really nice draft pick to go alongside Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green next season.

Right now, the most (only?) intriguing player on Golden State’s roster is rookie Eric Paschall; so win or lose, his return should excite anyone sick enough to still be watching this train wreck.

Turn the tank around, he’s back!


GAME DETAILS

WHO: Golden State Warriors (5-23) at Portland Trail Blazers (11-16)

WHEN: Wednesday December 18, 2019; 7:30 pm

WHERE: Moda Center; Portland, OR

WATCH: NBC Sports Bay Area

Blog buddy: Blazers Edge


Warriors keep catching losses, and it’s getting harder to watch. Let’s investigate.

The list of teams that have fallen off a cliff as steep as the Warriors have in less than six months is extremely short. It’s not just that Golden State is losing (which they are, frequently), the overall style of this team right now is painful to watch. In related news, this will be the second of two games that were pulled from the National broadcast schedule. I take that as a personal win because I won’t have to listen to Mark Jackson, but it’s indicative of a declining interest.

Stylistically, the Warriors are playing slower, shooting less threes, and hitting everything at a significantly worse rate as compared to last year. No statistic captures the preposterous drop quite as much as knowing that the team ranks dead last in effective field goal percentage this year (.483), after being the best in the entire league (.565) last year.

Beyond the team-wide struggles, our lone returning vets, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney have been struggling mightily. Green is averaging a paltry 11 points per 36 minutes this season on a bad shooting split of 41% from the field, and just 26.5% from deep. Looney is likewise struggling with his shot - he’s got a team worst true shooting percentage of .364.

By their powers combined, they are the opposite of Captain Planet. Captain brick? Captain Draft Pick?

Continuing a season long slide south, the Warriors offense is now nearly dead last, saved from the honor only by the superior inferiority of the New York Knicks. Combined with a bottom five defense, you can begin to get a picture of how much is going wrong (pretty much everything).

Player to watch: Eric Paschall

Anthony Slater wrote up a primer on Paschall, the 41st pick in the draft who has been shockingly effective this season. The Warriors are going to be looking to him often against the Blazers, who he torched for 34 points while leading the Dubs to one of their five wins this season back in November.

He went 11-19 on the night, 4-6 from deep, and added 13 rebounds while going 8-8 from the charity stripe. Pretty nice. It was his career high, and Paschall is returning well rested and fully healthy. I don’t know that it will be enough, but his return will for sure help.

His scoring is elite, especially in isolation. From that Slater article:

Paschall, the efficient 16-point per game isolation scorer many didn’t know existed on draft night, does exist. Among the 101 players who have used 300 or more possessions this season, Paschall’s 1.03 points per is ranked 31st, ahead of noted scorers like LaMarcus Aldridge, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and his friend Donovan Mitchell. That reality’s been absorbed.

One of the more interesting quotes from that article is a short quip from General Manager Bob Myers, who thinks that Pachall has the tools to succeed as a “starting NBA small forward.”

Looking at the (somewhat unreliable) positional breakdown from Basketball Reference, they show Paschall playing almost exclusively as a Power Forward (76%), splitting the remainder of his time nearly equally between Small Forward and Center. If the team is going to play him as a wing, he’ll need to learn to do more than just score.

Prediction

I’ve been following this team fairly closely for my entire life. So I hope you can appreciate how seriously I am when I say this - and you know that I know the historical context:

This is the worse Warriors team I’ve seen in my life.

Rack another round into the tank chamber, we are going to lose to Melo tonight.

Keep the tank rolling!

Personal updates on the mass firings and next steps

Basketball coverage will continue here (mostly) normally, but given the attention and wide-ranging impact of Vox’s Holiday Massacre I want to take a minute to update the community on where we are at and what’s happening next.

We have critical mass for a writers collective and are exploring next steps.

I won’t mention names at this point, but rest assured that almost all the names you know and love from GSOM content since Nate took over will be continuing to make stuff together; and we would love for you to continue the journey alongside us.

At this point we are working on figuring out exactly where and how we land. Vox axed us, but gave most of us through January or March of next year. We will use that time to continue providing the content you are used to seeing here and then make a large community transition phase towards the end of that time frame.

Please keep this passion. I don’t know exactly what the next phase looks like, but as we joined the chat for our Next Chapter I think all of us took a look around at who else was in the room and got real excited.