Nobody expected Eric Paschall to have such a large role as a rookie last season. The second-round draft pick took advantage of injuries and opportunity and was named First-Team All-Rookie while averaging 14.0 points per game.
After such a promising rookie year, however, Paschall entered this season in a tough position. With a healthy Draymond Green back and the Warriors taking center James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Paschall was set to move to the bench. Once again, he has taken advantage of every opportunity in his second season as a pro.
Paschall was fantastic off the bench Monday night in the Warriors' 115-113 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring 19 points while going 8-for-11 from the field.
"Eric has been doing this all season," coach Steve Kerr said after the win. "I guess the fact that this was a national TV game and a lot of people were watching, maybe some people who didn't notice Eric before are gonna notice, but this has been what he's done now all season long.
"He's having a fantastic early part of the season for us. He's really solidified his role and he's given that second group a lot of punch."
Paschall scored just 13 total points when he started the first two games of the season with Green nursing an injury. Since then, he has averaged 13.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 10 games as the Warriors' backup center at just 6-foot-6. Paschall is averaging 18.7 minutes per game in that span and is shooting 56.2 percent from the field, 41.2 percent from 3-point range and has a 118.7 offensive rating.
Though it only has been 12 games, Paschall looks like an early top candidate for the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award. Kerr turns to him down the stretch and lets him cook with the second unit. Game by game, Paschall continues to look like a cold-blooded steal in the second round.