CP3 coming off bench for first time in NBA career; Draymond starting

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CP3 coming off bench for first time in NBA career; Draymond starting originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Draymond Green will make his 2023-24 NBA season debut Sunday in Houston against the Rockets, and the Warriors forward will be in the starting lineup. Green’s return is a welcome one for Golden State, but it did force coach Steve Kerr to make a difficult decision: Who gets pushed to the bench?

Chris Paul always has been seen as the most obvious choice, and that is the way Kerr went.

For the first time in his NBA career, Paul will begin a game coming off the bench. Paul had started his previous 1,365 games between the regular season and playoffs.

In his first two games as a Warrior, both starts, Paul is averaging 12.0 points, 10.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists over 33.5 minutes per game. He has been searching for his shot to start the season, making only 33.3 percent of his field goals and not one of his eight 3-point attempts, but his basketball IQ also has been obvious in a Warriors jersey, too.

Paul already has 21 assists and only four turnovers. Only Paul Lucas in 1978 recorded more assists, 24, in a player’s first two games with the Warriors.

Paul can run the second unit to minimize stress when Steph Curry is off the court, and he is the Warriors’ smallest player in an already short starting lineup.

The 19-year veteran already has shown success with some of the Warriors’ second unit players. Paul and Gary Payton II have played 28 minutes together and have a 15.6 net rating, 103.6 offensive rating and 87.9 defensive rating. Paul and Jonathan Kuminga have a 15.5 net rating in 27 minutes, with a 125.9 offensive rating and 110.3 defensive rating. Paul and Moses Moody’s two-man lineup has produced a lowly 87.5 offensive rating in 21 minutes, but also an 83.3 defensive rating, good for a 4.2 net rating.

Golden State has a big goal in being one of the top defenses in the NBA, and the Warriors can’t do so without Green. He’ll initiate offense as he always does, be a boost on the glass and shore up the defense. Kerr told reporters in Houston that Green will be on a minutes restriction.

The Warriors’ starting five of Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Green and Kevon Looney had the best net rating in basketball last season, prompting Kerr to stick with what works best. Even after the addition of another future Hall of Famer.

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