2019-20 Season Preview: Forwards
Headed into the preseason, the Warriors were watching closely to see who would claim the starting role at the small forward. The preseason emergence of big-man Marquese Chriss led to the Dubs keeping him at the expense of Alfonzo McKinnie, leaving the squad with just one returning Warrior forward from last season — seven-year veteran Draymond Green — as they enter Opening Night at Chase Center and the 2019-20 season.
The new-look frontcourt will remain anchored by the three-time All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year. Though Green is coming off a season where his scoring output was at its lowest since his sophomore campaign (7.4 points per game in 2018-19), his overall production on the floor remained as consistent and well-rounded as the four seasons prior (7.3 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.1 blocks).
Beyond being impactful on both sides of the hardwood for the Dubs, he continues to be an emotional leader for the squad; the renewed chip-on-the-shoulder feeling he described in an interview with ESPN over the summer is a positive to Green, who also remains confident in the team, especially as the core of himself, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson remain together.
Joining Green in the starting five on Opening Night will be five-year veteran Glenn Robinson III. Though they only recently have started playing together with the Dubs, Green had reportedly been recruiting Robinson since last summer.
Many fans may remember Robinson III as the 2017 Slam Dunk Champion who jumped over an Indiana Pacers teammate, mascot, and cheerleader, but he has more in his game than just hops: “When I was with the Pacers, I guarded the best player on the court whenever they came on, and I look forward to doing that this year with a defender like Klay [Thompson] (recovering from injury).”
Another NBA veteran to join the Dubs during the offseason was Alec Burks, who spent seven plus seasons playing against the Warriors as a member of the Utah Jazz. Though he has primarily played at the guard spots throughout his career, the six-foot-six-inch Burks has the size and ability to cover the small forward position, much like Klay Thompson, who is rehabbing from a torn left Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).
"I saw that and feel like there's an opportunity, and that drove the decision [to join the Warriors]," Burks said during his introductory press conference on July 12.
Dub Nation may not have had the chance to see him in the preseason as he has been on the mend from a right ankle sprain, but one needs only to look at last season to see what Burks brings to the team: after being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in November, he started 24 of 34 games with the team where he averaged 11.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in just under 29 minutes per game.
Warriors fans got to see a lot of rookie Eric Paschall this preseason. The 41st overall pick of this year’s draft, Paschall logged 115 total minutes on the court during camp — the most out of all the Dubs — in which time he averaged 9.4 points and 3.6 rebounds.
He is continuing to adjust to playing in the NBA, and has shown flashes of what he can bring to the Dubs as he did as as a senior at Villanova where he posted a line of 16.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.1 assists with almost one steal and block per game. Paschall’s stats were not the only thing he was known for at the college level though, as Villanova assistant coach Kyle Neptune said of Paschall: “Coach [Jay Wright] always [wanted] Eric to check the other team’s hot hand. It [didn’t] even matter what position it is.”
As a group, these four Dubs — Green, Robinson III, Burks, and Pashcall — have more versatility than size, so they’ll need to rely on their athleticism and playmaking to deal with their often bigger opponents.
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