Warriors

Draymond Green was fired up after Eric Paschall, Warriors beat Blazers

Draymond Green was fired up after Eric Paschall, Warriors beat Blazers

Monday was Eric Paschall's 23rd birthday, even if the Warriors rookie did forget.

He gave himself quite the present, announcing himself to the NBA by dropping 34 points on the Blazers in the Warriors' 127-118 win at Chase Center.

With no Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green or D'Angelo Russell, the Warriors looked like they might get run over by one of the better teams in the Western Conference. But the scrappy Dubs fought tooth and nail, frustrating the Blazers all night long to secure one of the more surprising wins of the early NBA season. 

After the game, Green, who is out with a torn ligament in his finger, took to Instagram to praise his young teammates, specifically the man of the hour. 

Once Curry went down, it looked like the Warriors would shift their focus to developing their youth and seeing which players had staying power as they look to rebuild a dynasty that was decimated by injuries and Kevin Durant's departure.

But Paschall, Bowman, Jordan Poole and the rest of the Warriors aren't going to lay down and take their lumps. As seen Monday night, the young Dubs will fight and put on quite a show in doing so. 

[RELATED: Nameless Warriors coming of age after win vs. Blazers]

Can they do enough to keep the team from sinking in the West until the stars return?

After the show they put on against the Blazers, it might not be out of the question.

Andrew Wiggins is 'perfect piece' for Warriors, Tim Hardaway believes

Andrew Wiggins is 'perfect piece' for Warriors, Tim Hardaway believes

Ever since Andrew Wiggins arrived in the Bay Area, people have been speculating about his future with the Warriors.

Will they trade him as part of a package to acquire a star like Giannis Antetokounmpo? Is he an integral part of the next phase of the Warriors' dynasty?

Warriors legend Tim Hardaway is a huge fan of the acquisition and believes it'll help the Warriors get back to the top of the NBA next season.

"I think it was," Hardaway told TMZ Sports when asked if acquiring Wiggins was a good move. "Andrew Wiggins is gonna be real nice with them. Yes, he is. Perfect piece, no question!"

The Warriors have had an awful season. Klay Thompson will miss the entire campaign after tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last season, Steph Curry broke his hand during the fourth game of the year and has been out ever since.

As a result, the Dubs currently sit at the bottom of the NBA with a 12-44 record. But they traded D'Angelo Russell for Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves' first-round draft pick in 2021 (top-three protected). The pick becomes unprotected in 2022, which is expected to be the "double draft."

For his part, Wiggins has been brilliant since slipping on a Warriors uniform. In four games with the Dubs, he's averaging 22.7 points per game while shooting 57.9 percent overall and 52.6 percent from 3-point range. He's impressed head coach Steve Kerr who has said he's picked Golden State's offense up faster than anyone Kerr has coached.

Wiggins gets a bad rap because of the massive contract he has, but he still is just 24 years old and has loads of potential. Now free of the T-Wolves' dysfunction, Wiggins can focus not on being the savior of a franchise, but on doing his part and helping the Dubs make the long climb back to the top of the league when Curry and Thompson both are back on the course next season. 

[RELATED: Zion gives Dubs fans chance to dream of fantastical draft future]

This season has been one to forget for the Warriors.

But Hardaway thinks Wiggins is exactly the piece the Warriors need to continue their run of dominance when healthy.

With the early returns, it's hard to argue with the NBA legend,

Zion Williamson's arrival shows Warriors how quick fortunes can change

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USATSI

Zion Williamson's arrival shows Warriors how quick fortunes can change

SAN FRANCISCO – With the Warriors hugging the floor of the NBA and lining up a top-three pick in the draft lottery, Sunday afternoon brings an opportunity for them and their fans to share a flight of fantasy.

To spend a couple hours away from this abysmal season and allow their hearts and minds to drift off to the May 19 lottery in Chicago and the next 10 or so years.

The potential effect of the lottery will, after all, be right before their eyes.

When Zion Williamson bounds onto the floor at Chase Center, he will command immediate and constant attention from the Warriors. The No. 1 pick of the 2019 draft arrived in New Orleans as the latest reminder that sometimes all it takes is one pick to profoundly impact a franchise and even the entire league.

While Williamson missed the first half of the season while recuperating from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, the NBA wrapped its marketing wing in a Lakers flag, promoting every move LeBron James made or thought about making.

With Zion on the sideline, the Pelicans were 17-27. They’re 7-5 since his spectacular debut on Jan. 22.

“I’m just glad for him and for New Orleans that he’s healthy and playing,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Saturday. ‘It’s great for the league. And, obviously, they’re playing good basketball right now.”

Understand, the 2020 draft does not offer a Zion, who, like LeBron James 16 years earlier, entered the league on a stream of breathless hype that seemed mythical.

Impact players will be available, though, and any of them likely would benefit from joining the Warriors and playing alongside the likes of Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins.

Whereas Zion is considered the savior in New Orleans, much as LeBron was in Cleveland, the Warriors are not in need of such a dramatic entrance. They are, however, seeking someone capable of exciting them and their fans.

And, moreover, being a part of the core that takes the franchise through the new decade.

It could be James Wiseman, the 7-foot-1 center/forward with the 7-5 wingspan who spent a couple hours at the University of Memphis and is drawing comparisons to Anthony Davis.

Or maybe it’s Anthony Edwards, the 6-5 guard from Georgia who has the physique and skills to become a 21st century Mitch Richmond.

A couple others are particularly intriguing: Onyeka Okongwu, a high-energy 6-9 power forward from USC, and Isaac Okoro, a 6-6, 225-pound wing who is a solid scorer and can defend at least three positions.

But here is one definitely worth remembering: Dayton’s Obi Toppin. A 6-9 power forward with a smooth and refined offensive game, he’s picking up front-office admirers and rising fast. The Warriors have spent considerable time evaluating him.

With lottery picks in the next two drafts, the Warriors have negotiated their way into position to select foundational players for their future. Thompson turned 30 this month. Green turns 30 next month, 10 days before Curry turns 32. They’re going to need an infusion of youth, and next season is a good time to start grooming them.

The desire to add Giannis Antetokounmpo notwithstanding, the Warriors also need someone who can fire up the fan base.

New Orleans has its guy. Zion’s presence has electrified a historically sluggish Pelicans fan base and captured the attention of the NBA. He’s featured in TV promotions. He’s being interviewed on the court after games. He’s captivating audiences at every stop the Pelicans make.

[RELATED: Toscano-Anderson looks to inspire Mexican NBA fans]

Zion plays with Curry’s joy and Green’s ferocity, and with a bounce that can hold up against that of Orlando Magic star Aaron Gordon.

“He’s just an incredible athlete,” Kerr said of Williamson. “It’s pretty rare that you see a guy come into the league and just jump off the screen athletically. In the NBA, almost everybody out there is an incredible athlete. Zion stands above the crowd, literally and figuratively.”

Well, not exactly. He’s 6-6, the same height as Draymond. But that hasn’t stopped Zion from being what every franchise yearns for in its efforts to satisfy all five levels: ownership, personnel, coaching staff, teammates and fans.

When the Warriors take the floor Sunday, they’ll be burdened with a 12-44 record. Ignore it. Consider it an investment. Focus instead on the future, beginning with those ping-pong balls on May 19.