SAN FRANCISCO -- With the top two NBA Rookie of Year candidates on opposite sides Monday night when the Warriors face the Memphis Grizzlies, Draymond Green has an idea that would give his teammate an edge.
At 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, Eric Paschall needed only one-quarter of the season to show he can handle the role of being an “undersized” power forward but also be effective as a small forward.
Paschall’s production as a rookie is comparable to that of Memphis’ Ja Morant, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound point guard.
Green believes Paschall’s mentality can go beyond a mere two positions.
“One thing I’ve been trying to get him to do is learn all the positions,” Green said Monday after shootaround. “When you can learn all five positions, it just helps you create more value.”
Learning the roles of all five positions, unlike being able to play them all, provides a deeper glimpse into the team dynamic. As a point guard, it’s Morant’s responsibility.
For a forward, however, a full understanding of every position is what can separate the good from the very good, and the very good from the extraordinary.
“For a player like E, at such an early point in his career, if he can master learning all five positions, with his versatility, that just continues to add to the value that he’s creating for himself,” Green said.
Green’s goal is to do his part to tutor Paschall in hopes the rookie ultimately becomes a better version of himself. Paschall has a superior knack for scoring, but he trails Green’s innate ability in such areas as playmaking and rebounding,
Moreover, it is unlikely Paschall will ever play all-around defense at Draymond’s elite level.
Paschall ranks second among rookies in scoring, averaging 17.1 points per game. Morant, at 18.6 per game, leads all rookie scorers. Paschall is shooting 50.7 percent from the field, while Morant is at 45.7. Paschall has the edge in rebounding (5.3 per game to 3.2), with Morant leading in assists (6.4 to 1.8).
What’s most notable about comparing the two in the ROY race is expectations. Morant was chosen No. 2 overall. Paschall was the 41st player selected.
They are the frontrunners for the award, with Miami’s Kendrick Nunn close behind. Preseason favorite Zion Williamson is rehabbing after knee surgery and has missed the first seven weeks of New Orleans' season.