Warriors Analysis

Why Warriors' CP3 trade makes sense, is mutually beneficial

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We’re now into Day 6 of the emotional adjustment required for many Warriors fans to accept, much less embrace, the idea of Chris Paul as a member of their favorite NBA team. And, for some, it still feels like a horrible choice.

The casual fan wants to know why, of all people, the Warriors invited that guy into their house. The engaged fan has moved from initial disgust to digesting the reality to grasping the reasons behind it.

You might have to hold your nose, but those reasons are valid.

In the nine years since the Warriors realized the massive singular impact of Stephen Curry, they have spent innumerable hours and millions of dollars in a mostly futile search of a backup point guard capable of keeping the offense from perishing during the 10-to-15 minutes he is off the floor.

They have been disappointed more often than delighted. Shaun Livingston, who signed a free-agent contract in the summer of 2014, was the one gamble that paid off. He was very different point guard from Curry but had a knack for getting timely buckets inside the arc. He had a solid 2.5-to-1 assist-turnover ratio. “Dot” has been, by far, the best alternate point guard of the Curry era.

Quinn Cook sprinkled in a few productive moments over 107 games but was more of a shooter than a point guard. Ky Bowman gave the Warriors 45 unremarkable games before disappearing from the NBA. And we all remember the disastrous 39-game Brad Wanamaker experiment, as well as the procession of draft picks – Patrick McCaw, Jacob Evans III, Nico Mannion – that failed to meet the task.

The best option since Livingston was, well, Jordan Poole, who had the requisite playmaking skills but was prone to inconsistency and often neglected his teammates. Draymond Green’s angry right fist effectively eliminated JP from consideration.

Which is how the Warriors landed upon Christopher Emmanuel Paul, one of the most productive traditional point guards of all time.

The Chris Paul of 2023 is 38 years old and a part-time NBA player. He is in the dusk of his career and very much aware of it. He’s not coming to take over the locker room or give speeches or provide counsel on the ways of winning. He knows that is best left to those on the roster who have jewelry collections as their proof of championship pedigree.

Paul is coming to the Bay in hopes of experiencing emotions he never has known, and he’s reading this opportunity as perhaps is best chance at his own jewelry and almost certainly his last chance.

CP3 has played 18 seasons, appeared in 1,214 games, not once as a reserve. His one trip to The Finals, with the Suns in 2021, lasted six games before the Milwaukee Bucks thumped Phoenix into summer.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr has long admired Paul’s game, even while deploring his dramatic antics and gift for the sneaky cheap shot. The franchise’s internal belief is that CP3 can blend into the Golden State dynamic and seize the leadership void on the team’s second unit.

Paul, even now, can collect the occasional bucket, get to the foul line and, above all, become the stabilizer that Livingston once was. His extraordinary career 4-to-1 assists-turnover ratio – it was slightly better with the Suns – is the kind of gift Kerr can love.

The Warriors, who have spent two seasons trying to unlock the best of Jonathan Kuminga, consider Paul more than suitable for the job. He has spent his career feeding the right frontcourt athlete at the right time. He so masterfully maximized Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan that both were All-Stars. There was no Lob City without CP3.

Paul against certain opponents can be sprinkled in with the small lineup, giving both Klay Thompson and Curry the chance to befuddle defenses with off-ball movement.

The Warriors successfully managed the compromised physique of Livingston and later did the same with Otto Porter Jr. The goal is for Paul to play maybe 50-60 games, rarely exceeding 20 minutes, and be fit for the postseason.

That’s the ask, and it’s achievable.

The Chris Paul that Warriors fans love to hate is gone. That guy was a ferocious competitor and didn’t hesitate to turn ruthless, put some dirt in the game or dig into his deep bag of gamesmanship tricks to con the refs. A villain on the sly – but hardly sly enough.

RELATED: Chris Paul reveals how he found out about trade to Warriors

That Guy never would have been welcomed into the Warriors’ orbit. The Warriors would not have wanted him, and he would not have wanted them.

This arrangement, at this time, is mutually beneficial. Golden State’s logic is impeccable. Paul has four months to ingratiate himself to Dub Nation before taking the floor. All signs indicate he’s ready to accept the mission.

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