Golden State Warriors point guard Chris Paul will not play against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday after suffering a nerve injury to his lower left leg, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Paul left the Warriors’ In-Season Tournament loss to the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night after the first quarter.
His status is day-to-day, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Both Paul and Payton II are key cogs of the Warriors’ second unit.
Paul is averaging 8.9 points and 7.3 assists in his first season coming off the bench. On the other hand, Payton II’s defense will be sorely missed.
Without the two key veterans, the Warriors collapsed against the Kings, squandering a 24-point first-half lead.
Malik Monk completed the Kings’ 124-123 comeback win with a banked shot with seven seconds left that ousted the Warriors in the In-Season Tournament.
The Warriors have lost eight of their last 10 games.
With Paul out against the Clippers, Warriors coach Steve Kerr will lean on the likes of unheralded Cory Joseph and possibly rookie Brandin Podziemski to take turns filling up Paul’s void in the second unit.
Moses Moody is likely to soak up Payton II’s minutes.
Dario Saric’s Future
Another key cog of the Warriors’ second unit is Dario Saric, whose future with the team beyond this season is a big question mark.
“He knew this was a year where he slipped through the cracks free agency-wise and needed to be in a good spot to show what he can do,” Kerr said of Saric after their November 24 win over San Antonio Spurs. “This is definitely the spot. He’s playing so well. He’s clearly a player who’s going to command a big salary next summer.”
Saric is outplaying his veteran minimum contract this season for the Warriors.
Saric held the fort when Draymond Green was out, averaging 15.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 48.4% overall and 42.4% from downtown during his absence.
The Croatian big man had 10 points, three assists and two rebounds against the Kings on Wednesday which marked Green’s return.
Green finished with eight points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks in his first game back from a five-game suspension.
As a projected luxury team next year, the Warriors will be unable to use the mid-level exception. They are likely to lose Saric the way they lost Donte DiVincenzo last summer.
DiVincenzo signed with the New York Knicks for the midlevel exception.
Klay Thompson Irked by the Idea of Getting Benched
Klay Thompson was fired against the Kings, scoring 20 points in the first three quarters before being silenced down the stretch.
Perhaps, he was motivated by the chatter about getting benched amid his shooting slump.
“You want to bench me,” Thompson retorted when a reporter touched on the sensitive topic after Monday’s practice. “Do you want to bench [Andrew Wiggins]? You want to bench us? OK. You could suggest it, that’s fine. But, ‘Thanks, Steve,’ I guess. Like, I don’t know. Sometimes you earn things like patience and time to find yourself. I think history is on our side when it comes to that stuff.”
Thompson shot 6-of-14 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds in his first game since that fiery interview. But despite his solid game, the Warriors still ended up losing with him having a minus-5 net rating.