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HomeBasketballNBAWarriors give Chris Paul one last, best chance to win a ring

Warriors give Chris Paul one last, best chance to win a ring

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The week leading up to the 2023 NBA Draft has been wilder than the “Tip Drill” video.

We’ve had multiple blockbuster trades involving the Washington Wizards, who tore everything down a year too late.

Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul has been moved twice this week. Paul on Sunday was sent to Washington from Phoenix as part of the Bradley Beal trade. The Point God on Thursday was moved to Golden State from Washington in a deal centering on Jordan Poole.

The 38-year-old Paul going to the Warriors is a helluva move for a lot of reasons. It adds one of the best point guards of all time to a core group of Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson that’s looking to extend its championship window.

There’s a lot of history there too.

Paul’s LA Clippers in 2014 took the pre-Steve Kerr Warriors out in a seven-game first-round playoff series. The Warriors leveled up the next season and began to beat the brakes off of Paul’s Clippers, with Paul himself being involved in a number of memorable Warriors plays.

When Paul was flipped to the Houston Rockets in the summer of 2017, he became the engine for a Houston team that won a league and franchise best 65 games. That team pushed the Curry/Kevin Durant Warriors to the brink in the West Finals before Houston had one of the more memorable shooting droughts from 3 in playoff history.

Paul has made every team he’s been on better. When he was traded to Oklahoma City for Russell Westbrook in 2019, that Thunder team was projected to be one of the very worst in the league. The Thunder that season finished fifth in the West and pushed the Rockets to seven games before falling in a first-round series. Paul the next season in Phoenix played a major role in the Suns advancing to the Finals before blowing an 0-2 lead and losing to the Bucks.

So what will Paul’s role be with the Warriors? Some are already speculating that he’ll start alongside Curry with Thompson, Green and Andrew Wiggins. Paul has been pick-and-roll heavy his entire career. The Warriors prioritize ball movement. I think Paul’s destiny with Golden State is to lead the second unit and help further the development of young players like Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.

Moving off of Poole, who’s set to start a four-year, $128 million deal next season, gives the Warriors some wiggle room financially. It makes it a little easier to sign Green and Thompson to long-term deals, assuming Paul restructures his contract.

Ultimately, the move should be a good one, as Paul can spell Curry for stretches and take some of the offensive playing duties from Green. That’s if Paul can stay healthy. Paul missed 23 games last season and 17 games in the 2021-22 run. He hasn’t played all 82 since 2015. This move only works if Paul can give Golden State 65 games. It remains to be seen if he can do that at this stage of his career.

Putting Paul with this group gives him a last best chance to win a title. I love the NBA, but one thing I hate is “ringz culture.” A player of Paul’s stature has done everything most other great players do. He’s universally recognized as one of the best players of all time. He’s come up short when it comes to winning a title, though.

Is this the year?

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