Last month, Eric Paschall became the first Warriors player to be named to an All-Rookie Team since Harrison Barnes, and the latest draft selection in franchise history to earn those honors. The No. 41 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft outperformed even the wildest of expectations and arguably was the brightest spot in an otherwise dreary season for Golden State.
Paschall participated in the Warriors' recent minicamp, during which he focused on improving one facet of his game in particular.
"We are big fans of Eric, I think that's well known," Warriors assistant general manager told Forbes' Patrick Murray. "Every time he steps on the floor he appears to be the most physical guy out there. And he's been working doggedly on his shot with [player development coach] Theo Robertson, who's done a really good job with him.
"Obviously we were really excited. He showed so much last year in terms of one-on-one ability, and that pull-up mid-range shot. It was just a matter of extending it out, but he showed that he can hit a jumper, which was great. And they put in a lot of work. I mean, Eric is an extremely, extremely hard worker. So his shot looks good. My bet is that it will look even better by the time we get to the season, because they were tweaking quite a few things this summer to make it a little bit more smooth from deep. But it looks good right now. We're really excited to see what year two has in store for him."
Paschall displayed an advanced and well-rounded game for a rookie, no doubt the product of a four-year collegiate career, including three years at powerhouse Villanova University. Though that certainly provided him with a solid foundation, the Warriors still see ample room for growth, particularly on the defensive end.
"Defensively, he's got the physical ability to guard," Lacob continued. "And he comes from obviously a great program in Villanova with Jay Wright. They do a phenomenal job, every player who makes it to the NBA from Villanova knows what they're doing on that side of the ball.
"But it's hard to defend as a rookie in the NBA. And it's even harder when you've got a bunch of other young players around you. So we think he did an admirable job last year despite the circumstances. We expect more from him this year, really excited to see how he fits in some different lineups. But we do think his physicality and his kind of mental makeup are really good, and we expect a big leap from him defensively this year. And then I would even say, we are really tracking his defensive ability into years three and four, but we think this next year is going to be a huge stepping stone for him. It's really important to us, and we think that you know, he's right on track."
Despite how impressive he was as a rookie, Paschall likely will have a smaller role next season, simply due to the fact that he should have a much stronger team around him. Of course, if he forces the Warriors' hand, they certainly won't mind.