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The Warriors Reportedly Deciding To Start Chris Paul Has The Potential To Be A Complete Disaster

Jim Poorten. Getty Images.

I don't know about anyone else, but it's still VERY weird to think about/see CP3 associated with the Warriors. There's been a lot of drama this offseason so I feel like this trade has sort of flown under the radar, but it is very weird. It's going to take my brain a few weeks I think to get used to seeing CP3 in that jersey, the same way it did for guys like Tony Parker in CHA. Things you just never thought you would actually see are now a reality.

The biggest question of this experiment isn't how the Warriors make it work with a guy they've clearly had beef with in the past, it's how the hell this works from a basketball standpoint. How would Steve Kerr handle the rotations/lineups? Hearing from Paul in July it certainly didn't seem like he was ready and willing to come off the bench

and now a few weeks to go before camp we're being told that CP3 will in fact start next to Steph Curry. If CP3 is sliding in, that means someone from the group of Curry/Klay/Wiggins/Draymond/Looney is sliding out, which means it's probably going to be Kevon Looney. Steph and Klay definitely aren't coming off the bench, it makes little sense to bring Wiggins off the bench, and no way in hell Draymond is going to allow Kerr to do that to him, so Looney is the odd man out. Given what we just saw with Team USA and Steve Kerr's obsession with small ball, I think that's a fair place to start.

The issue here is why the hell the Warriors would do such a thing. To put it simply, their starting 5 group last year was one of if not the best starting five units in all of basketball.

Curry/Klay/Wiggins/Green/Looney:

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Ortg: 128.0

Drtg: 106.1

Net Rating + 21.9

AST% 78.3% 

REB%: 52.5%

That production came in 27 games and 331 minutes. The next most used lineup swapped DiVincenzo for Wiggins while he was out, and that had 114/94/+20 splits. Adjusting so you can start a 38 year old point guard next to Steph Curry and removing your very impactful center seems more like you're just trying to placate your new star rather than doing what's best for your actual roster. 

Now maybe Kerr is thinking they'll start Paul just to keep him happy and then have a quick sub in the first quarter. I read they were thinking maybe 5 minute shifts or something along those lines. I just don't get it. Paul makes perfect sense to run the second unit, or maybe take over when Curry needs a rest. I always looked at him as a way to keep Curry's minutes/usage down a little bit so he doesn't burn out by the playoffs, so instead deciding to play them together and remove someone like Looney seems odd.

What are they going to do when they play a team with size? Just looking in the West there is size everywhere. I know the Warriors revolutionized the NBA by playing small, but having that big center on the floor is what truly unlocked everything. Whether that was Bogut in the early days or Looney now. Especially as the core of this team ages, playing Draymond all those minutes as a small ball five is certainly risky as opposed to doing it in spurts/in certain matchups.

If it works, Steve Kerr is a genius. But if it doesn't? How long do we see him be stubborn with it before going back to how things were. We just saw him be ridiculously stubborn when it came to playing small in the FIBA World Cup, and that ended in disaster. It's not like the Warriors are at the point where they can be throwing away seasons, so if Kerr decides that CP3 has to move to the bench, is he going to be cool with that? There's not going to be any sort of drama there? Of course there is!

Which is why this trade is without a doubt one of the more intriguing storylines of the 2023-24 season. Not only is it weird as shit that Chris Paul is an actual Warrior, it's even weirder that they would change what they know works all to keep a 38 year old PG happy. 

You just know opposing offenses are going to be looking at a defense with an aging Curry, Klay, and CP3 on the perimeter with no Kevon Looney on the back line and immediately start licking their chomps. Draymond can still give you DPOY level rim protection at times given how fucking smart he is as a defender, but he's not getting any younger either. 

I'd love to know how Warriors fans feel about this. A player they hated for so long isn't just now on their team, but his stubbornness about coming off the bench has the potential to mess up their entire flow as they look to squeeze out one last title with this group. I'm sure it's going to be smooth sailing all year!