PHOENIX – For much of his first season in the NBA, Warriors forward Eric Paschall has had the burden of sustaining success in a new environment.
After a scoring frenzy at the start of the season that helped spark the rookie of the year gossip, opponents began to denounce Paschall’s weaknesses, forcing his numbers to dwindle. Now, with the Warriors defeated, he has found success in his role.
Paschall’s latest development came in the Warriors 115-99 victory over the Suns on Saturday, when he finished with 25 points, four assists and three rebounds in 32 minutes, helping his team win in its first match in almost a month, and it got better along the way.
Remains of Paschall’s development appeared in the first half. After two minutes of play, he caught a pass just outside the 3-point line, rolled in the lane and finished at the top of the seven-foot Aron Baynes. A quarter later, he inspected the floor of the wing and found Damion Lee for an easy layup. At the end of the first half, he accumulated 15 points and two assists to help the Warriors narrow their lead to Phoenix by 18 points at halftime.
The recent improvement in Paschall’s production has given life to one of the worst offensive units in the league.
“I think the difference from a few months ago is his desire to get off the ball and kick it around the perimeter and be more of a playmaker,” said the coach- chef Steve Kerr. “It was a big part of his development. He was a big scorer in the first month of the season, but he forced a lot of action.”
Paschall has had similar success before. In the first nine games of his career, he averaged 16 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists, including a 34 point performance against the Blazers.
But success came with a caveat. Most of his scoring chances were at the expense of the attacking flow, which made it easier for the defenses to collapse while on the move.
“I feel like I forced it earlier in the season,” said Paschall. “I feel like I’m being more patient now.”
Evidence of Paschall’s growth was needed in the wake of Golden State’s recent injury woes. Hours before the match, the team announced that Draymond Green and Jordan Poole would not be playing, leaving the team with only eight healthy bodies, forcing Paschall to be a main master. In the role, he flourished, showing calm as the team repeatedly passed the offense through him, gaining the confidence of the coaching staff in the process.
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“In the past two weeks, he has really done a good job in the driving and kicking game, finding guys who are open,” said Kerr. “All you really want to do against a defense is spin someone, make the defense react and Eric is good enough to do it.”
“He has become a more efficient player,” added Kerr. “And he sees the guys who are open much better.”