Warriors

Jordan Poole, Eric Paschall receive good lesson in first Warriors game

Jordan Poole, Eric Paschall receive good lesson in first Warriors game

SAN FRANCISCO -- Entering their first season in San Francisco in nearly five decades, the Warriors knew their growth would come from the youth on their revamped roster. 

With three draft picks, general manager Bob Myers bet on shooting in Jordan Poole, grit in Eric Paschal and promise in Alen Smailagic. In an otherwise listless 123-101 loss to the Lakers, Paschall and Poole gave a glimpse of what could be.  

"I thought they both played well," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "I thought they showed their skills and ability."

Poole showed flashes, scoring eight of his 17 points in the second quarter, including a 3-pointer. Despite just a week of training camp, he seemed to have a grasp on Golden State's motion offense. Midway through the second quarter, he received a cross-court pass from Stephen Curry, pump-faked and made a fadeaway jumper in front of the Warriors bench. A minute later, he ran the fastbreak alongside Draymond Green and finished the sequence with a 3-point shot.  

Meanwhile, Paschall played solid, finishing with 11 points and three rebounds on 3-of-7 shooting from the field. Prior to the game, Kerr praised Paschall's ability to guard multiple positions. By the end of the night, his defensive assignments ranged from Lakers forward LeBron James to big man Anthony Davis. 

"Eric really stands out physically out there," Kerr said. "He's a strong and physical kid and he's not afraid and he could play multiple spots defensively, so I thought both of them were good."

Six months ago, Paschall was competing for a third straight Final Four appearance with Villanova, playing against zone defenses and the structure of college basketball. Early in the second quarter Saturday night, James took a pass at half court, dribbled three times and barreled into Paschall's chest for an easy layup, emphasizing the rookie's steep learning curve. 

"It's kind of crazy," Paschall said. "You get told to go in the game and the first person you're guarding is Anthony Davis. It was cool to able to go out there and get some minutes and try to show that I want to play during the season."

While Paschal was learning rookie lessons, Poole was looking to become the team's third scoring option. By the end of the night, he tied for the team lead in attempts, listening to the urges of his veteran teammates.

"When you have [D'Angelo Russell] and Steph [Curry] and Draymond [Green], Klay [Thompson], Jacob [Evans III], everybody telling you to shoot the ball, that you're here because you can score. Shoot," Poole said. "I think it's simple. Obviously, take smart ones, but if you're open, don't hesitate."

Over the summer, Poole and Paschall have become inseparable. Prior to games, they work out on the floor at the same time. Last month, they hosted a basketball camp at Chabot College, taking turns blocking the shots of campers. Following the loss Saturday night, they wandered to the weight room that adjoins Golden State's locker room for an hourlong workout as tunes played off Poole's iPhone. 

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With the Warriors' future uncertain, Golden State's young core will be counted upon to make an impression early. As the season progresses, Poole and Paschall will go through a baptism by fire, something their veteran teammate Curry knows well. 

"You try to keep a straight face, but it's okay to have that kind of big-eyed moment where you're proud of yourself for making it to that point and you're amazed by what you see out on the floor," Curry said. "But at the end of the day, you want to compete and prove yourself and every rookie has to go through that." 

NBA Draft 2020: Deni Avdija celebrated Warriors' 2015 title in old photo

NBA Draft 2020: Deni Avdija celebrated Warriors' 2015 title in old photo

If the Warriors select 19-year-old Deni Avdija in the early stages of the 2020 NBA Draft, they'll be picking a player who appears to have been a fan of the franchise for at least a quarter of his life.

The Israeli-Serbian forward has been lighting up the Israeli Basketball Premier League for Maccabi Tel Aviv, averaging 18.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. ESPN's NBA draft guru Mike Schmitz describes Avdija as an "aggressive offensive player who is in attack mode every time he steps onto the floor," who, "loves shooting pull-up 3-pointers in transition."

Hmmm. Sound familiar?

That would seem to mirror the way the Warriors played throughout their (still ongoing?) dynastic run. Given a photo posted to Avdija's Instagram in September of 2016, it would appear he has been a fan of Golden State for some time.

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מה זה בית ספר #🇪🇸

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That's the Warriors 2015 NBA Champions hat that Avdija is wearing while apparently sailing off the coast of Spain. A good-looking hat for an even better view.

[RELATED: Watch potential Dubs draft target Avdija dominate in Israel]

Just throwing this out there, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess he's a pretty big fan of Steph Curry, too.

Maybe, just maybe, they'll be teammates within a few months, and Avdija will have more Warriors apparel than he'll know what to do with.

Shaq gives outrageous breakdown of potential Lakers-Warriors matchup

Shaq gives outrageous breakdown of potential Lakers-Warriors matchup

Shaquille O'Neal won't back down from this debate.

The Hall of Fame center is 100 percent convinced his three-peat Los Angeles Lakers were better than the Steph Curry and Kevin Durant-led Warriors.

Shaq has made it clear over the last two years that he believes the 1999 through 2002 championship Lakers would have easily beaten the 2016 through 2019 Warriors in a hypothetical matchup.

The Diesel even claimed that the Warriors wouldn't have been a contender during the Lakers' dominant run.

But in an interview with Maxim Magazine published Tuesday, Shaq said the Lakers starters would have won every 1-on-1 matchup with the Warriors.

Brace yourselves, Warriors fans.

"I have a hard time believing that the greatest coach of all time (Phil Jackson), plus me and Kobe [Bryant], wouldn’t match up quite nicely against Steve Kerr and his gang," Shaq said. "Kobe takes Steph and dominates him. [Derek] Fisher takes Klay and manhandles him. [Rick] Fox takes Draymond and makes him foul out in the first half. Horace [Grant] would do his thing with K.D. But let’s be real, K.D., is a beast, and you can only do so much with him. And then I’d remind [Zaza] Pachulia why I am in the Hall of Fame and he is not."

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Where do we even begin?

Yes, Kobe was an elite defender, but Curry is a generational talent. He would not have been dominated by Bryant. Steph against a prime Kobe would have been must-see TV, but it wouldn't have been as one-sided as Shaq believes.

If Shaq thinks Klay would be manhandled by anyone, let alone Fisher, he hasn't watched the Warriors shooting guard enough. Thompson has five inches on Fisher and would just shoot right over him.

If Fox tried to bully Draymond, the Warriors forward would pull a Doug Christie and sock him in the jaw. Draymond's motor would give him the edge in that matchup.

Durant would get his against Grant or any other defender the Lakers threw at him. You know who he is. He's Kevin Durant.

The only matchup the Lakers win hands down is Shaq vs. Zaza. Sorry, Zaza.

Shaq's Lakers were able to do something the Warriors weren't able to do: Three-peat. But Golden State very likely would have accomplished the feat if Durant and Thompson had been healthy for the entirety of the 2019 NBA Finals.

[RELATED: Why Curry, Dubs would dominate Lakers]

Yes, Shaq has every right to defend his Lakers teams, but to say they would completely dominate those Warriors teams is a bit far-fetched. Before Durant arrived, the Warriors won 73 games. After he signed, they steamrolled the league on their way to back-to-back NBA titles, and could have three-peated.

This debate will never be settled, but one thing is for sure. Shaq won't let it go.