Warriors

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.”

Lakers center JaVale McGee fakes injury, dunks on Warriors in preseason

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USATSI

Lakers center JaVale McGee fakes injury, dunks on Warriors in preseason

JaVale McGee pulled a sneaky one from his bag of tricks Wednesday night against his old team. 

In the third quarter of the Warriors' 126-93 preseason loss to the Lakers at Staples Center, McGee began limping and grabbing his left knee. Within about three our four seconds, his antics became clear: JaVale was faking an injury. 

The Lakers center went from crouched out of bounds to back in play in a flash to catch a pass from fellow big man Anthony Davis and throw down a dunk. McGee couldn't help but laugh at the expense of his former Golden State teammates. 

[RELATED: What Draymond was right -- and wrong -- about in Suns rant]

This kind of tomfoolery might seem illegal at first, but in reality, McGee looks like a genius who perfectly knows the rule book. Section XV of the NBA rule book states "An offensive player shall not leave the playing area of the court without returning immediately and cannot repeatedly leave and re-enter the court." There are exceptions, though, the first of which comes from an injury. 

While the Lakers have been dominating the Warriors in the preseason, McGee has been catching up on his reading. The Dubs, and the rest of the NBA, surely will have their eyes on JaVale the next time he looks to pull off a stunt like this.

Why Draymond Green's rant defending Marquese Chriss was mostly spot on

Why Draymond Green's rant defending Marquese Chriss was mostly spot on

Injuries have kept players off the court for months, even years, and buried the hopes of entire teams. They’ve derailed entire NBA seasons.

For the Warriors of this season, however, injuries may have brought them prosperity.

Without injuries to projected centers Willie Cauley-Stein and Kevon Looney, they might not know what they have in Marquese Chriss, who was signed to a non-guaranteed contract but is playing his way onto the roster.

The Warriors are positioned to gain what the Suns -- who drafted Chriss in 2016 -- lost when they traded him out of Phoenix after two seasons. That certainly is the perspective of Draymond Green, and his impassioned defense of Chriss is mostly on point.

“He’s been in some pretty tough situations,” Green told reporters Wednesday night, after a 126-93 loss to the Lakers at Staples Center. “No one ever blames the situation, though. It’s always the kid. No one ever blames these s---ty franchises. They always want to blame the kid. It’s not always the kid’s fault.

“He’s getting older now, so he’s not a kid anymore. But he came into this league as a kid. But it’s never the organization’s fault. It’s always that guy.”

“So I’m happy he’s got another opportunity to show what he can really do. Because he’s a prime example.”

Green wasn’t quite done. He also saved some ammo for media, indicating reporters are more likely to direct blame on a player than a franchise.

“Because you’re friends with them,” Green said. “You want all the access from them. So, the way you guys will come out and bash players, y’all don’t do that to organizations because it’s all about access and protecting your future. No one really protects these younger guys’ futures. Because it’s all about ‘what can I do for myself.’

“So, no one talks about the organizations. It’s always just the player, the player, the player. Because they can’t do s--t about it but be young. And their name carries no weight, and then (they’ll) be out of the league and onto the next thing.

“No Phoenix writer is going to bash the Phoenix Suns,” Green continued. “But let’s be frank about it. When he was there, the organization was terrible. Everything was going wrong. But he get blamed, like he’s the problem. When he left, ain’t nothing go right. That’s my take on it.”

OK. Again, some of Green’s claims are on target. There are instances of young players being blamed for their failure, while franchises skate.

The Warriors have been skating for a few years now, but it wasn’t always so. They’ve been kicked plenty over the many lean years they put up. Former owner Chris Cohan was such a punching bag that he retreated from media exposure. His right-hand man, former team president Robert Rowell, also took his absorption of bruises from local media.

That’s about where the Suns are now. Since real estate/banking tycoon Robert Sarver purchased the team 15 years ago, they have been in such a freefall that they’ve become a blight on the league.

The Knicks of the Western Conference.

And they have been taken to task -- nationally and locally -- for being a once-proud franchise run aground by cantankerous and penurious ownership.

Green is wrong about that.

Green likely is right about the Suns not knowing what they had in Chriss. Someone in the front office thought enough to draft him No. 8 overall in 2016. But the chaos upstairs -- largely generated by Sarver -- has resulted in a dizzying array of impulsive and regrettable decisions.

If not for the incompetence of Sarver and the Suns, Chriss probably would not be a Warrior, and he certainly wouldn’t have to accept a non-guaranteed contract, as he did 17 days ago.

And if not for injuries to Cauley-Stein and Kevon Looney, the Warriors might not have much of a file on Chriss, either.

[RELATED: Looney to miss preseason; Dubs hope he'll play in opener]

For now, they stand to benefit from having Chriss on the roster. He’s not there yet, but he will be. Any day now.