DETROIT — The Warriors wanted more structure and stability off the bench this year. Through eight games, Chris Paul has done just that.
His six assists and zero turnovers in the Warriors’ 120-109 win over the Pistons on Monday night in Detroit just added to what’s been near perfect passing in his debut with Golden State. He has 62 assists and six turnovers and has tallied 31 assists since his last turnover, the longest streak of assists without a turnover by a Warriors player in the regular season since at least 1997-98 (when these stats were made available), according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Even though Paul says life on the bench is still “an adjustment,” his sacrifice is paying off. The Warriors bench is outscoring opponents’ benches 331-224. Until his season-high 17-point game in Monday’s win, most of that scoring didn’t include Paul — who already has his legacy cemented as one of the NBA’s premier jump shooters of this era.
“I probably ain’t shot it this bad in 18 years, so I like my chances,” Paul said, asked if he is seeing his shot come around.
Paul was shooting 31.8% from the field and 7.7% from 3 — meaning Paul, a career 36.8% from 3 — was 2-for-23 from 3 in seven games. On the back side of a road back-to-back, Paul looked more in rhythm with his jumper in Detroit, where he was 6-of-9 from the field and 2-of-3 from 3.
“Knocking shots down just just adds to what he’s already doing,” Coach Steve Kerr said. “But six assists, no turnovers, he’s up to 62 assists, six turnovers. I mean, that’s insane.”
The assist-to-turnover ratio is as advertised, but the Warriors can start to creep out of the early-season cruds if someone other than Steph Curry — who is averaging more than 30 points per game shooting 47.5% from 3 and won the Western Conference Player of the Week — emerges as a consistent second or third scorer.
Though he hasn’t had an explosive scoring game yet, Klay Thompson looks to be warming up the jets. His 3 not falling, he tallied 17 points on Monday primarily from the mid-range. Andrew Wiggins is struggling to get into any offensive rhythm, averaging 10.8 points per game.
The Warriors are 6-2 and have one more game on this six-game road trip — with one home game in between — a mile high against the reigning champions. Paul and others have said these wins are nice to pile up given the starters haven’t coalesced yet and the defense is still rounding into form. But Paul getting a little hot from the mid-range is a green flag.