Warriors rookies missed the memo that they’re supposed to tank

Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State WarriorsPhoto by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

This is the season for which the rest of the league has been dreaming. After being bullied for five years, they realize the Warriors are more vulnerable than they’ve been since the 2011-12 season — the last time they missed the playoffs — and want their piece of the franchise that has enjoyed more June champagne than any other since the Shaq-Kobe Lakers at the turn of the millennium.

“Warriors will take break from greatness after years at top of NBA” by the legend Monte Poole, 10/23/19

Coming into this season, the Golden State Warriors seemed due for some comeuppance after dominating the NBA for the better parts of the last five years. After a few blowout losses, Stephen Curry broke his hand, and the young, reeling Dubs appeared to be buried under an avalanche of injuries and hubristic misfortune.

The reigning Western Conference champions had been reduced to a mere laughingstock; their fall from grace apparently signed, sealed, and delivered by the basketball gods. Bandwagon Release Forms were quickly distributed, and league observers (like me) generally embraced the idea of a tanking, healing Warriors season.

Apparently, none of this measured internet conjecture penetrated Golden State’s locker room, as they traded haymakers with a tough Portland Trail Blazers team and emerged victorious in their first Chase Center win.

Golden State’s nine-man rotation last night featured six players 25 or younger. Here are the standouts from an enthralling win by a brand new unit showing a killer instinct for the first time.

Who is your Warrior Wonder from the victory over the Blazers?

Eric Paschall

If you haven’t read Joe Viray’s brilliant piece on Paschall’s glowing night, “The Golden Breakdown: Eric Paschall has proven that he is already a dependable NBA player”, I encourage you to check it out pronto:

There is no doubt that Paschall’s strength and frame that were cultivated during his four years at Villanova played a huge part in this breakout game. Save for Willie Cauley-Stein, Marquese Chriss, and Omari Spellman, the Warriors are sorely lacking in paint physicality. While not being as tall as those three, Paschall’s ability to play bigger and taller than expected played a huge part in the win against the Blazers.

If he can continue to show the same kind of domineering physicality against other teams, then the Warriors might very well have their next budding star on their hands.

Paschall’s final stat line: 34 points, 13 rebounds on 11-of-19 shooting from the field.

Joe described Paschall’s force like a bruising bulldozer; can you believe the rookie also shot 4-of-6 from beyond the arc? Add in his perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line, and dare I say the Warriors have quickly found a scoring replacement for Kevin Dura—((gets electroshocked)).

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