The Golden State Warriors traded their most talented bench player, Jordan Poole, for Chris Paul, an all-time superstar point guard on his last legs.
Chris Paul will be a Golden State Warrior, and his final chance to win an NBA championship is now. If he fails to win a title, he will always be remembered as a Hall of Fame point guard with that “but” that will always trail him.
Paul is a basketball savant who makes the right decisions with the ball and rarely turns it over. He is an elite foul grifter and will raise the floor for the Warriors’ offense in the non-Cury minutes.
The Warriors love to play in a way analytics favor, but their over-reliance on the three-ball has led to a problem this season. Chris Paul has become their go-to shot, and Poole never had that.
CP3 gives the Warriors another elite playmaker, and he’s an improved player whenever he transfers to a new team. This includes turning Deandre Jordan into an all-NBA player, helping turn James Harden into an MVP, and improving the young OKC Thunder in 2019-20.
Paul is complicated in his greatness and the other things surrounding it, meaning a title will largely shape how he is remembered.
Paul’s fit in Golden State certainly makes sense on the surface. The Warriors get a promising young scorer in Poole plus those picks, Poole gets liberation from a Warriors team that fell apart internally after Draymond Green viciously punched Poole before the start of the last season.
Paul is an outstanding player and a fine fit for the Warriors, who can manage his minutes and still have a competitive team.
The Warriors are in win-right-now mode, but there are worries. One of the tremendous superpowers of the Warriors during its dynastic run has always been its locker room, but that spell was broken last year in the aftermath of the Green-Poole fiasco.
Paul is proud, can be difficult, and can be one way with the media and another with his teammates. He is, paradoxically, a joy to have alongside you.
The Warriors signed Paul, Thompson, and Green without Curry, but being around Paul sometimes differs from getting the full, 24-hour-a-day version.
Paul has been great but hasn’t won. He’s often underestimated and difficult to know.
If he can get along with Green and the rest of the Warriors and stay healthy and happy, Chris Paul may help the Warriors get back into the playoffs. If not, his addition will likely fail.
But if he does fail, at least he’ll be able to say he gave it his best shot!