The Golden State Warriors are rumored to be planning to make Chris Paul a starter this season, which could lead to some tense dynamics in the locker room.
Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr, had previously stated that he wouldn’t decide on Paul’s starting role until after training camp, but an informed source suggests that the Warriors have already made this challenging decision as they prepare for the 2023-24 season.
With less than a month until the Warriors begin their training camp on October 2nd, Marc Spears, a senior writer at ESPN and Andscape, has disclosed that Chris Paul is anticipated to be a starter during his first season with Golden State.
Spears suggests that Paul will likely start in short five-minute intervals, indicating a cautious approach to his playing time.
While it’s not confirmed, Spears is sharing this information based on what he’s heard, rather than giving his personal opinion, stating that the expectation is for Paul to start.
“I do expect [Chris Paul] to start. I think it’s like 5 minute spurts… I think they’re gonna try it… This isn’t an opinion, this is just what I’m hearing.”@MarcJSpears on CP3 possibly being a starter on the Warriors
(via “Good Word with Goodwill”)pic.twitter.com/OnrVDbZYBM
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 8, 2023
Chris Paul has never been a bench player in his 18-year NBA career, and he didn’t appear enthusiastic about the idea when asked earlier this summer about potentially coming off the bench for the Warriors.
Could the potential disruption of this streak be the main reason behind Golden State’s decision to start Paul alongside Stephen Curry in the backcourt?
Given how effective the Warriors’ usual starting lineup was in the 2022-23 season despite team challenges, it’s clear that Paul’s ego might play a role in this situation.
The lineup featuring Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, Green, and Looney had an impressive +22.1 net rating last season, making it the best among lineups with at least 500 minutes played, according to Cleaning the Glass.
However, Coach Kerr experimented with Jordan Poole as a starter during parts of the 82-game season to inject more offense early in games, but this strategy wasn’t consistently successful, and the Warriors couldn’t go small full-time.
Even though Chris Paul’s playing time will be carefully managed during the regular season, he will still have a significant role with the Warriors in 2023-24.
Essentially, the Warriors will have six starters, regardless of who starts and finishes games.
However, it’s clear that the most effective lineup for the Warriors involves Looney starting and Paul coming off the bench.
This maintains the success of the traditional starting five while addressing the team’s longstanding struggles when Curry is not on the court.
As Marc Spears suggests, the Warriors are likely to experiment with these lineups, but it’s important to note that the decision to keep Paul as a starter could impact the team’s locker room dynamics.
We’ll have to wait until early October when Coach Kerr makes his final decision on the lineup.