Warriors

Kerr says Paschall's reduced role down to circumstances

Warriors
Steve Kerr coaching Eric Paschall

When the NBA season was shut down over a year ago, Eric Paschall's place in the Warriors' rotation was far more secure than it is now.

Roster turnover, injuries and the 2019 second-round pick's own play ensured he carved a regular role, even earning First Team All-Rookie honors following a season in which he averaged 14.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists in just shy of 28 minutes per game. Paschall admitted Wednesday his second season has been a bit of a "rollercoaster," and the 24-year-old arguably reached a low point of that ride Tuesday after not playing in Golden State's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the Warriors didn't plan to bench Paschall against the Sixers, but he knows it has been a "difficult stretch" for some players on the roster after yet another rotation revamp.

"I've talked to him throughout this season, and I've explained to him and he understands that last year, everything sort of fell his way as a rookie, second-round pick, to get the playing time he did," Kerr said of Paschall in a video conference with reporters Wednesday. "Just with the trades and the injuries, the circumstances fell his way.

"This year, it's been sort of the opposite. We've tried to put him into different combinations. They haven't always fit perfectly and sort of taken advantage of his strengths, so he's sort of been in and out of the loop as a four and as a five. It's just the way that the game has fallen this year."

 

Paschall and rookie James Wiseman were available for the Warriors on Tuesday after missing three games in the NBA's coronavirus health and safety protocols. Unlike Paschall, Wiseman started Tuesday, and Kerr said before the loss that Golden State plans to start the 19-year-old for the remainder of the season.

That moved Kevon Looney to the bench, leaving far fewer potential minutes for Paschall as a small-ball center, barring foul trouble from Looney and Wiseman. Rather than play Paschall as a second-unit power forward, the Warriors kept Kelly Oubre Jr. and Andrew Wiggins on the floor to play alongside Looney and guards Damion Lee and Nico Mannion. 

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Paschall is playing 10 fewer minutes per game this season, so his averages are down across the board. Yet, he's averaging more points (19.6) and rebounds (6.5) per 36 minutes this season than he did as a rookie. Some of that is due to shot volume, since Paschall is averaging almost an additional two field goals per 36 minutes, but the Warriors should be encouraged Paschall has remained productive in a smaller role.

Kerr and the coaching staff have been "honest" with Paschall about his role, the Villanova product said Wednesday.

"He's just gotta stay ready," Kerr said. "Like I tell all our guys, he's just gotta stay ready because things change quickly in the NBA."

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