ESPN predicts CP3 will win award in debut Warriors season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
Ahead of Chris Paul‘s first season in a Warriors uniform, expectations are high.
The 38-year-old point guard arrived in the Bay this summer as part of a trade that sent youngster Jordan Poole to the Washington Wizards, and now, Paul finds himself on a star-studded roster among his former rivals.
While Paul’s role — whether it be in the starting lineup or coming off the bench — has yet to be clarified, an ESPN expert panel predicts his veteran presence will earn him the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award.
“Our experts say the Golden State Warriors struck gold with point guard Chris Paul, who joins one of the deepest teams in the league,” ESPN’s annual NBA predictions piece states. “The 12-time All-Star is entering his 19th season, and although Paul has never come off the bench, his contributions as a reserve could strengthen the Warriors’ title chances.”
Paul has made it clear since the trade that his goal is to help the Warriors win games, hopefully leading to the first NBA title of his storied career — but he so far has remained mum on what his role will be with Golden State.
Since Paul was drafted No. 4 overall in 2005, he has started all 1,363 games in which he has played. With Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney and Draymond Green firmly entrenched in the Warriors’ starting five, all signs point to Paul mostly coming off the bench during the 2023-24 NBA season.
His status as a career starter and future Hall of Famer certainly give him a leg up in the Sixth Man of the Year conversation, with ESPN’s panel giving Paul a total of 42 points in their prediction (26.9 percent of first-place votes), or 12 more points than the list’s No. 2 candidate, the Los Angeles Lakers‘ Austin Reaves.
Following Paul and Reaves on ESPN’s list are:
T-8. Norman Powell, Clippers: 5 points (3.8 percent)
T-10. Bruce Brown, Pacers: 3 points
T-10. Bennedict Mathurin, Pacers: 3 points
T-10. Kevin Love, Miami Heat: 3 points
Regardless of where Paul lands in the end-of-season voting, his debut Warriors season is almost guaranteed to be one for the books.
But there’s no question — Paul and the rest of his new Golden State teammates would much rather end up with a ring when all is said and done.