Warriors draft pick Eric Paschall has shades of Draymond Green in him

Warriors draft pick Eric Paschall has shades of Draymond Green in him

OAKLAND -- Within minutes of being drafted by the Warriors last Thursday night, Eric Paschall received a text message from one of his new teammates. That it came from Draymond Green is startlingly appropriate.

Not only because both fit the definition of an undersized power forward. Or that both displayed relentless energy at elite college programs. Or that both played the maximum four years in college. Or that both were drafted by the Warriors -- in the second round.

As much as those factors matter, there is reason to believe the Warriors hope to groom Paschall to become Green’s replacement. There’s no way to know how long such a process will take, or even if it will come to pass, but it has to be the plan because one other similarity is too evident to ignore.

They both obsess over slights. Green still can recall, with more annoyance than bitterness, the 34 players selected before him in the 2012 draft. That same attitude surfaces when Paschall recalls being 15th on a list of New York prep players six years ago.

“I can remember most of them,” he said Monday, after the Warriors introduced their rookies. “I’m not going to say them. But I remember where I had that picture, where I had that list, and I remember most of those guys.”

A little research determined Paschall was ranked 16th among players with New York City roots coming out of high school, 55th among players in the Northeast and 65th among all prep power forwards.

On another list, he was ranked as the 25th-best power forward in the class of 2014. For comparison’s sake, Kevon Looney was No. 2 and Jordan Bell was No. 14.

Mostly ignored by schools from power conferences, Paschall landed at Fordham under coach Tom Pecora. Paschall, as a 6-foot-6 guard, made 27 starts and led the Rams in scoring (15.9 points per game). He was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year.

But when Pecora was fired, Paschall wanted out. His freshman season at Fordham was impressive enough to allow him to upgrade to Villanova, a regular in the NCAA Tournament, coached by Jay Wright.

“When I said I was going to go to Villanova, a lot of people said I shouldn’t go there,” Paschall recalled. “I did. And feel like I made the most of that situation. But they felt like I wouldn’t play. Some people felt like I wasn’t good enough to play there.

“That’s how my whole life has been.”

Green is legendary for his need to prove he belongs. Paschall sees himself as cut from similar cloth.

“I’ve always been the underdog -- my whole life,” he said. “I always try to keep that chip on my shoulder, just to keep myself going. I’ve always felt like I’ve been overlooked. And whomever gives me an opportunity, I try to make the most of it.”

Paschall’s father, Juan, recalls that being the case in high school and AAU basketball. The slights always had to be proven wrong.

“I definitely saw that in him, and it sticks with him today,” Juan Paschall said. “He’s always been somewhat of an underdog. Even when he played in high school, and he was the New York state Class B Player of the Year, it was ‘because he was playing at a small school.’ “

NCAA men’s basketball gets no better than Villanova. The Wildcats won two of the last four National Championships, with Paschall forced to watch as a redshirt transfer in 2016 before being an integral member of the group that cut down the nets in 2018.

The kid that wasn’t good enough kept piling up proof to the contrary. He owned the weight room and now stood 6-8, 250 pounds. He made 38 starts as a junior at ‘Nova. In a 95-79 win over Kansas in the national semifinal, Paschall was nearly perfect, scoring 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting. He was named to the Final Four All-Tournament team.

As a senior last season, Paschall started all 36 games, averaging 16.5 points and 6.1 rebounds at power forward and was a unanimous selection to the All-Big East First Team.

“I don’t think people realize what he had to go through to get here,” Juan Paschall said, ticking off his son’s journey. “And then, after all of that, being drafted 41st. We did not think he’d go that low.

“But the blessing is that ended up going to the Golden State Warriors. There couldn’t be a better fit. A lot of NBA teams are playing “iso” ball. Golden State does not. In fact, they used to say that Villanova plays like Golden State.”

[RELATED: Here are 10 players Dubs could target to help next season]

The hope is that Paschall can contribute as a rookie. At 22, he’s considered mature. At 6-8, 250, he’s considered physical. His energy level is considered Draymond-esque.

“He’s a very animated guy, and I really like that,” Paschall said of Green. “I like his tenacity. I like his character. I like how he’s just always fired up. I definitely want to mimic him, for sure.”

NBA rumors: Warriors alarmed Kevin Durant lacked joy after second title

NBA rumors: Warriors alarmed Kevin Durant lacked joy after second title

In three seasons with the Warriors, Kevin Durant won two championships and two NBA Finals MVPs.

If he didn't get hurt, it could have been 3-for-3 in both departments.

On June 30, KD announced that he was going to sign with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. On Monday, Golden State general manager Bob Myers said he doesn't think there's anything the Warriors could have done differently to keep the 10-time All-Star with the franchise.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst agrees, and offered the following context Monday on The Jump:

"I think even if he doesn't get hurt, even if they win the title, I think there's a good chance he was leaving. You never know for sure. The thing about the Warriors, they were very alarmed after winning two titles that Durant didn't seem to have the joy.

"We knew he suffered the downsides of what it meant to come to the Warriors. When he took and raised that Bill Russell trophy twice -- and didn't have the joy -- they were worried last summer.

"Normally you would think, 'Oh my gosh, this guy just won two titles and two MVPs -- this guy is locked up with us for life.' And they were worried about it way back then, and as the season went along it only made it even worse."

Let's provide even more context.

In late March 2018 -- about nine months after the Dubs won the title -- KD revealed the following story on The Bill Simmons Podcast:

"People tell us we're superstars, and we really aren't ... after we won the championship, I had Taco Bell and it ran through me just like it would a normal person. I'm like, 'Oh sh--. I thought I had a golden stomach (joking). I thought I was immune to everything, but no.

"That's the perception of it all -- we're just immortal. We're normal fu**ing people who are really good at what we do. But at the end of the day, we go to sleep just like everybody else. We really put on our pants just like everybody else ... it made me realize that I am not king anything because we won a championship." 

A couple months later -- after the Dubs won back-to-back championships -- ESPN's Zach Lowe wrote the following:

Both [Steve] Kerr and [Steve] Nash saw the drifting start over the summer, after Durant realized his first championship would not complete his life -- or silence every critic. He didn't work as often with Nash, or as productively, as planned.

"He didn't have a great summer," Nash says. "He was searching for what it all meant. He thought a championship would change everything, and found out it doesn't. He was not fulfilled. He didn't work out as much as he normally does."

[RELATEDEx-Dubs exec West explains why Clips are best organization]

For a multitude of reasons -- some of which have come to light -- KD felt like it was time to leave Golden State.

You can only hope he finds what he's looking for.

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Ex-Warriors exec Jerry West explains why Clippers are best organization

Ex-Warriors exec Jerry West explains why Clippers are best organization

Jerry West joined the Warriors as an Executive Board member in May 2011, and his time with the franchise came to an end after the Dubs won the title in June 2017.

He immediately joined the Clippers' front office, and during his introductory press conference in LA he said he did not want to leave Golden State and that he thought he would never work anywhere else again.

The Hall of Famer was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday, and made some interesting comments:

"One of the things I enjoy about being here -- and obviously this is gonna be my final stop in my basketball life -- is [Clippers owner] Steve Ballmer has really put together an unbelievably terrific organization. He has spared no expense.

"It's a really fun place to be. It's not ego-driven at all. He's got an awful lot of basketball people over there and I'm just happy to be such a small part of it.

"He's willing to spend on players, he's willing to spend on personnel within the front office. I've never been around any organization that's better than this one that's for sure."

Wow. Strong words from The Logo.

Shortly after West -- who reportedly is making between $4 and $5 million annually -- joined the Clippers, The Athletic's Sam Amick (who was with USA Today Sports at the time) said the following on The Ringer NBA Show Podcast:

"They didn't want to pay him as much as the Clippers did. It got a little messy at the end. They all tried to keep it under wraps a little bit. Jerry's been a little bit outspoken.

"This Warriors thing -- that was a painful ending ... he wanted to be back with the Warriors. I was definitely told that he was extremely disappointed with how that ended."

You can do the math.

[RELATEDCurry's one-word answer when asked if Dubs make playoffs]

Finally, West doesn't want any credit for the Clippers landing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

"Oh no. Not at all. I should get very little at all," he said. "I've gotten far too much credit in my life ... I just had a voice. Our front office is really terrific.

"They were really on top of this thing the whole way."

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