SAN FRANCISCO — Just ask Brock Purdy, what’s a quarterback without his weapons?
Actually, let’s pose the question to Chris Paul, who can safely say he’s in point guard paradise 15 games into his tenure with his once arch-nemeses.
“If you think about Peyton Manning, Tom Brady – those types of quarterbacks – who have got these elite receivers,” Paul said after turning in his second straight double-double in the Warriors’ win over the Rockets Monday night, “for me, it’s so fun to bring the ball up the court knowing you’ve got Klay, you’ve got Steph.
“Some of the passes I’m throwing to them, you’re throwing it before they even get there. They catch it, they shoot it and they make it, you know what I mean?”
Ahead of Paul’s return Wednesday to Phoenix, where he spent the previous three seasons, he appears to be finding his groove with the team he spent much of his career trying to dethrone from the top of the Western Conference. Turns out, the Point God and the 3-point king make a pretty good pairing.
Since returning to the starting lineup with Draymond Green’s suspension, Paul has only improved on his gaudy assist-to-turnover numbers. With his 15-point, 12-assist, one-turnover effort Monday night, Paul has 115 assists to only 18 turnovers through 15 games this season.
The Warriors were plus-12 in his 34 minutes, a team-high.
“Tells you everything about the game tonight and how he controlled tempo and just the action,” Curry said. “The best version of CP is a game like tonight, where he’s aggressive to shoot when he’s open but every possession he’s just trying to move it to the open person.”
The addition of Paul, a true point guard, has allowed Curry to play more off the ball. That has his assists down to a career-low 3.6 per game.
“I’m comfortable with that just because you know you’re always a threat, whether I’m the one passing it or not,” Curry said. “You can just give them different looks. That’s helpful, just a little bit more mindfulness, especially later in the game with what we’re trying to do, is kind of what we learned over the course of this homestand.”
Paul was responsible for setting up Curry’s four-point play Monday night that put the Warriors up 10 going into halftime.
“It wasn’t planned or anything from the bench. He saw a clear side and got me and (Kevon Looney) in the right action,” Curry said. “Just kind of a masterclass of reading the flow.”
It’s probably only a coincidence that Thompson’s breakout performance, cracking 20 points for the first time this season, came the night after he flipped on the Netflix “Redeem Team” documentary, watching a 23-year-old Paul help the U.S. win gold at the 2008 Olympics.
“The guy’s been through it all,” Thompson said. “It was cool to see young Chris get rookie hazed by his teammates. For him to still be here just balling, it’s insane.”
It’s less of a coincidence that Paul assisted on five of Thompson’s seven buckets.
Just a quarterback and a receiver with a budding connection.
“It makes your job as a shooting guard so much easier when you have one of the greatest passers to ever play orchestrating you out there,” Thompson said. “It’s important that we lean on Chris for all his experience and continue to play off him and let him quarterback.”