Warriors’ New Addition Chris Paul Predicted to Win Major NBA Award

Chris Paul, Dario Saric, Warriors

Getty Former Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson #23 reacts with Chris Paul #3, Mikal Bridges #25 and Dario Saric #20 after scoring against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Chris Paul, the Golden State Warriors‘ marquee pickup this offseason, is the runaway choice of ESPN’s panel of experts for next season’s Sixth Man of the Year award.

Paul earned 42 points (26.9% of first-place votes), with Los Angeles Lakers’ breakout star Austin Reeves a distant second with 30 points (15.4%).

Paul, a 12-time All-Star point guard, has never come off the bench in his entire career, but that might change this season with the Warriors if Steve Kerr sticks with Stephen Curry as the team’s starting point guard.

Kerr’s most used starting lineup over the past two seasons consists of Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney.

The Warriors coach, whose focus is still on Team USA’s gold medal bid in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, was non-committal on whether Paul will start or come off the bench.

“I think that’ll be a case where you get three weeks of training camp before that first game,” Kerr told ESPN on August 4 after a Team USA practice in Las Vegas. “We’ll just look at all kinds of different combinations.

The Warriors traded for Paul, the 11-time All-Star point guard, primarily for future financial flexibility, but even at 38, Paul was still rock solid, minus the injuries.

Kerr believes Paul’s addition and Poole’s subtraction will improve their league-worst turnover rate last season. Poole had 3.1 of the Warriors’ league-worst 16.3 turnovers in the previous season, which negated his 4.5-assist average.

“We had a lot of turnovers last year,” Kerr told ESPN. “We need to improve that. And the great thing with Chris is, he’s so smart that he’ll figure it out whether he’s playing with Steph or without Steph. He’s incredibly smart, and the whole group is really smart.”

Paul only averaged 1.9 turnovers last season while dishing out 8.9 dimes per game.

“It’s been a hallmark for our team with Draymond and Steph and Klay and Andre [Iguodala] and all these guys. So you put a bunch of talented, smart players together, good things are going to happen,” Kerr added.

Chris Paul Still in Shock of Warriors Trade

Paul, one of the Warriors’ bitter rivals in the past playoffs, is still in shock that he’s now joining them.

“Ain’t no way,” Paul said on the “Sloane Knows” podcast when asked if he envisioned himself teaming with the Warriors in his career. “There is no way. It’s so fun and kind of cool that it ain’t like a pink elephant in the room or whatnot, right?”

“I remember me and Steph (Curry) worked out together in Vegas or whatnot, and a few of the coaches walked in and saw me in Warriors gear. They were like, ‘This is crazy. Who would have thought?’ So the fact that we all can talk about it, and it’s not like it’s some secret like, ‘Don’t say this, or don’t say that,’ is really cool.”

Favorite NBA Arena Is Not Chase Center

The Warriors fans will not like this.

The Chase Center isn’t Paul’s favorite NBA arena.

“My favorite arena environment-wise is the Garden — the Madison Square Garden,” Paul said on the “Sloane Knows” podcast. There’s nothing like it. Madison Square Garden is so dope because the energy in there is obviously, you’re in the mecca, but they really appreciate good basketball.”

It will be interesting to see how the Warriors fans will receive Paul during his debut, starting in the preseason against his close friend LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers at Chase Center on October 7.

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