In a fairly surprising move, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr announced that Chris Paul will be coming off the bench on Wednesday for the team’s fourth preseason game, a playoff rematch against the Sacramento Kings.
It’s quite a different look for the Dubs, who are still without the injured Draymond Green, and who do not have Kevon Looney tonight, as the usually indestructible center is under the weather. As a result, the starting lineup will be Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, and rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis.
In his pregame media availability, Kerr suggested that the move was in large part to get Paul playing with the second unit, something he’ll be doing in large doses during the regular season, whether or not he’s starting. Kerr noted that the Warriors want Paul to play his game, and not just assimilate to the offensive system that Golden State runs when Curry is on the court.
Here’s Steve Kerr on Chris Paul coming off the bench tonight. Sounds like part of it is getting Paul in a pick-and-roll heavy lineup.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 19, 2023
“I told him we need him to be himself. He’s trying to fit in. Sometimes we need him to go take four mid-range jumpers in a row.” pic.twitter.com/s7WAvVAAeu
I still expect Paul to be the starter during the regular season if Green is not ready to play. But with the team’s core players still not playing full minutes in the preseason, it’s easy to see why Kerr is moving to a lineup that maximizes the time that Paul spends on the court absent Curry. While those two will share the hardwood plenty this season, it’s safe to say that, when healthy, Paul will be running the offense for every meaningful minute that Curry is resting. So getting him used to that role, and playing with the rest of the second-unit players, is critical.