In a major sign of what he is willing to do to finally win an NBA championship, Golden State Warriors guard Chris Paul ended one of the NBA’s longest starting streaks to take a bench role for his new team.
One of the biggest surprise moves this summer was the Warriors swinging a trade that sent talented six-man Jordan Poole to the Washington Wizards in return for future Hall-of-Famer Chris Paul. While the 12-time All-Star is a worthwhile addition for any team, he still seemed to be an odd fit for Golden State.
What made things even more problematic was that after the trade was made and the summer played out, Paul and the team seemed undecided on his role. It made sense for him to start games off the bench, but there is a fine line an organization must walk when asking a league legend to take on a bench role when they believe they can still contribute as a starter.
In the team’s first two games this season, they let Paul start and the team got mixed results. It seems that how they performed led to a major shift in thinking for the 38-year-old and for the first time in his career he started a game from the bench on Sunday night.
- Chris Paul stats (2023-2024): 10.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 9.3 APG, 2.0 SPG
Chris Paul makes ‘massive’ sacrifice for the Golden State Warriors
The decision ended a streak where he started in 1,365 straight games, which is the longest run from starting to a switch to the bench since the 1970-1971 NBA season. While it was an unexpected change, Paul was a complete professional after the game when talking about the big move.
“It’s whatever I’ve got to do to help our team win,” Paul said after the team’s 106-95 win over the Houston Rockers. “So if that means this, if it means not finishing some games or whatnot, you know if you get a chance to play long enough in your career, there are things that are going to change, there are things that are going to be different and I’m here.”
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr lauded Paul’s “massive” sacrifice after the victory. “It’s massive. Massive … When a vet, an All-Star shows that kind of sacrifice, it sets the tone.”
With that now out of the way, one of the team’s biggest questions has been addressed and should be beneficial toward more success in the weeks ahead.
The Warriors return to action on Monday night to play the New Orleans Pelicans.