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6 players who stand to benefit from Chris Paul’s arrival

Other than, you know, all of them.

Chris Paul and Jonathan Kuminga chasing a loose ball Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors started the offseason with a massive move, trading Jordan Poole for Chris Paul. It’s a move that figures to help the Warriors in the 2023-24 season for numerous reasons. Paul may be one of the oldest players in the league, but he’s also only one year removed from being an All-Star, an All-NBA selection, and leading the league in assists. And while he may be a feisty and divisive player who has had his share of run-ins with the Dubs over the year, it’s fair to assume the Warriors locker room — pretty clearly fractured a year ago — will benefit from the Poole-for-Paul swap.

Paul’s addition figures to help every individual on the Warriors. But to my eye, it will help a few more than others. Did I cheat in order to get almost the entire team on this six-player list? Sure. Do I regret it? No.

So here they are, in order. Starting with the player I most anticipate benefitting from Paul’s arrival.

1. Jonathan Kuminga

Ever since the trade happened about a month ago, we’ve been hearing about how this will help Kuminga. And I have to say that I strongly agree.

Paul may have a reputation for being hard on teammates, but he also has a strong history of helping young players improve. A great parallel for Kuminga is Paul’s teammate in Phoenix, Mikal Bridges ... someone whose skillset shares plenty of traits with Kuminga’s.

In Bridges’ last season before Paul joined the Suns, he averaged 15.5 points per 100 possessions, shot 51.0% from the field, and shot 36.1% on threes. In his first season with CP3, those numbers improved to 20.4, 54.3%, and 42.5%, respectively.

Much of that was Bridges just growing, as third-year players do. And hey, would you look at that, Kuminga’s entering his third year, too! But a lot of it was how Paul’s playmaking and quarterbacking opened up the court for the hyper-athletic Bridges, while also giving him way more space on threes.

The same should happen with Kuminga, who figures to have ample opportunity to gain a rapport with Paul, as they’ll likely share the court in tons of second-unit minutes. I’m very excited to see what happens.

2. Moses Moody

Moody may not benefit from Paul’s arrival as much as Kuminga, who has a much more diverse offensive skillset, but he does figure to benefit. I’d particularly keep my eye on Moody’s defense and fundamentals with Paul around.

This is me reading between the lines and speculating, but Moody’s response to the preseason incident between Poole and Draymond Green — in which Moody talked about how much he loves and respects Green — makes me think he is fine with intense leadership and hard coaching. Those things are basically Paul’s middle names.

I expect Paul to be hard on Moody, and I expect Moody to respond well, and see his game continue to grow.

3. Steph Curry and Draymond Green

I’m cheating with two names here because of what they represent. Curry and Green have been the Warriors primary playmakers for a very long time. Poole occasionally added that label to his resume, but it was too often inconsistent or overly-sloppy.

Paul’s arrival not only gives the Warriors a third playmaker, but it gives them one who is even better than Curry and Green. Last year CP3 posted the fourth-highest assists per 100 possessions mark in the league, behind only James Harden, Nikola Jokić, and Trae Young.

That takes a lot of work off of Curry and Green’s shoulders. It also allows them to rest more if need be. And it makes it easier for Steve Kerr to find the right lineups. When Green’s scoring feels like too much of a liability to have him on the court, there’s Paul. When Curry’s getting stifled with the ball in his hands and the Warriors want to run him off-ball, there’s Paul. And when the Warriors find themselves making the types of turnovers that make you wanna pull your hair out, there’s Paul, one of the great turnover-suppressing point guards in NBA history.

4. Andrew Wiggins and/or Klay Thompson

The Warriors simply could not find second-unit offense last year. Kerr tried Wiggins as the focal point, but he’s just not the type of player who should be a first option. He tried Poole, and that did not work. He tried Thompson, who wasn’t able to have the type of offensive season that lends itself towards leading a unit.

Now Thompson or Wiggins — or both — can instead play off of Paul in the second unit, instead of having to manufacture offense on their own. It also helps that Paul is still a very good perimeter defender. Wiggins and Klay will no longer have to use so much energy playing on-ball defense on opposing guards.

5. Trayce Jackson-Davis

If the Dubs’ second-round pick in June can play his way onto the court, he’ll figure to give them an interesting look as a lob threat. While Curry and Green aren’t bad lob tossers, they’re nothing compared to Paul, the driver behind the Lob City Clippers.

It’s no sure thing that TJD will earn playing time, but as a 23-year old four-year college player, he at least has a decent chance at it. And if he does, he’ll surely be in lineups with Paul, who can delicately toss pinpoint lobs that only Jackson-Davis will be able to reach.

6. Brandin Podziemski

Podziemski may be best known for his shooting ability, where he’ll surely learn a thing or seven from Curry and Thompson.

But Summer League was a reminder as to how much playmaking ability Podziemski has, and he excelled at floaters in the lane in college. Unfortunately, Summer League was also a reminder that Podziemski is a below-average athlete at the NBA level.

I’m not sure I’d label Paul as “unathletic,” but you’d have to go fairly far down his list of best basketball skills before you got to “speed,” and you’d have to go a lot further still before you got to “height,” and then you’d have to go a whole lot further before you got to “leaping ability.”

Paul has made hundreds of millions off of using craftiness to get past players taller, faster, and hoppier than he is. If I were Podziemski, I’d show up to the first day of class training camp with a notebook and a few pens.

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