Tuesday’s game against the 76ers was a bit weird, or at least noteworthy, for the Warriors in a few ways.
Star guard Stephen Curry didn’t play due to injury, and Golden State fell behind 24 points in the first half but rallied for 40 second-quarter points against the top seed in the Eastern Conference. All of this was on national TV, too.
But also: Eric Paschall. The Warriors forward was cleared from NBA health and safety protocols related to the pandemic, but he didn’t play a minute. Coach Steve Kerr said he didn’t plan to ignore Paschall, but it happened due to the situation on the floor.
Then he said the bench may become more familiar for Paschall in the coming days, or perhaps weeks. Or for who knows how long.
Paschall was a first-team All-Rookie selection on a bad Warriors team last season as a second-round pick. He thrived as a reserve small-ball center early this season, but with the emergence of center James Wiseman and the presence of veteran C Kevon Looney, Paschall has been called on by Kerr to play more power forward.
It hasn’t been working. Per Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle, Paschall is struggling mightily over his last five games, averaging 5.0 points on 32.3 percent shooting including 22.2 percent from 3-point range, adding 2.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists.
So can Paschall play power forward? I’m not so sure.
He has a unique game for today’s NBA. He should play inside the arch when he tries to score. No 3-pointers. He’s deadly in the paint and has a fantastic short jumper. If he’s to succeed, he must embrace that. Playing sound defense could be a difficult prospect for him as well.
Chiefly, he’s a fantastic scorer when he gets going. Paschall averaged 14 points a game as a rookie, and he can hit field goals in bunches. That has immense value.
Paschall has a lot to offer an NBA team, and the Warriors would do well to find a spot for the All-Rookie player from a year ago. Kerr and his staff need to hit the lab and figure this one out.
(Photo credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)