Dubs Lead

Paschall’s Rookie Wall is Beginning to Fall

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The dreaded rookie wall knows no bounds. It comes with the territory when you’re 19-23 years old and you double the number of games you play in a single season. Fatigue sets in, confidence wanes. and the rookie wall wins out, at least for a short while.

Eric Paschall might not have been worried about hitting a rookie wall, but his stats proved he hit that wall hard just over a month ago. Paschall’s rookie wall had him spend four straight games and six of seven scoring just single digits. He sustained a hip contusion injury that limited his minutes, reducing his overall output. But as the minutes have increased since his return from injury and his comfort level has become more apparent, his level of play has risen, showcasing skills not seen even during his hot start to the season. It started Sunday night against the Grizzlies, where he accomplished a feat not achieved by a rookie Warrior since a certain famous teammate first joined the team.

 

The next game against the Mavericks, he scored 16 points on a solid 7-for-11 shooting, including 2-for-2 from behind the arc. Both games may have ended in a loss but Paschall established himself on both ends of the floor. It was also the first time Paschall scored double-digit points in back-to-back games since December 4-6 when they played the Charlotte Hornets and the Chicago Bulls.

Green Helps Chip Away at Paschall’s Rookie Wall

The play was reminiscent of another Warriors player, Draymond Green. Prior to this season, comparisons between Paschall and Green became commonplace. As Paschall started having 30-point nights, it seemed as if their similarity was more about their draft location and less about their style of play. But as the season went on, the potential for Paschall to become more like Green was apparent. Eventually, Green publically acknowledged he was mentoring Paschall.

The effects are already apparent. This sequence has Green’s influence all over it.

When executed by the Warriors, that play is usually a Green rebound followed by a Green pass to Klay Thompson in the corner. Instead, the alternate universe we currently live in shows Paschall finding Spellman for the basket. He’s also learning the Warriors pick-and-roll while incorporating his own skillset. In the play below, he slips the screen with perfect timing causing Justin Jackson and Luka Doncic to lose track of him. D’Angelo Russell’s pass splits the double team leaving Paschall a lane to the hoop. But he doesn’t follow Warriors trends by kicking out to a shooter or throwing an alley-oop. Instead, he goes straight to the rim and dunks on the 7’4″ Boban Marjanovic.

Paschall’s Warriors “Fit” is Unmistakable

That the team can execute the same plays as the stars is an encouraging sign moving forward. As Curry gets ready to return and Thompson prepares for next season, guys like Paschall have proved they can play alongside the Warriors stars in their system. This should give Steve Kerr plenty of rotation options. Ideally, it will allow him to rest Green while Paschall seamlessly initiates the offense with Curry and Thompson on the floor.

The Warriors love high-energy players at the forward and center positions. In the past two games, Paschall has embodied that spirit. His rebounding performances in those games were just the second and third times since November 25th that Paschall has grabbed five rebounds or more. He’s starting to fight for those boards more. Here’s a play where that high-energy gets him the offensive rebound off his own shot and leads to an and-1.

As Paschall gets over the hump and improves this season, his value to the Warriors will be undeniable. Providing a solid backup to Draymond Green for under two million dollars per year until 2022 isn’t an easy feat, but the Warriors have found that in Paschall. The rookie wall and an injury may have slowed his progress, but it didn’t take away his determination. Under the guidance of Green and the Warriors, Paschall’s improvement may not be finished.

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