Every rookie has his «welcome to the NBA moment.» For Eric Paschall, it came right away and against two of the best players in basketball.
«My welcome to the NBA moment was definitely in my first preseason game,» Paschall said on Howard Beck’s «The Full 48» podcast. «I didn’t expect to be the first person in off the bench. So coach Kerr’s like, ‘Eric!’ He laughs in my face and just goes, ‘You got AD.’
«So I have to guard AD, I have to guard LeBron.»
For what it’s worth, LeBron James scored 15 points and had eight assists as the Lakers beat the Warriors, 123-101, to open the Chase Center. Davis led all scorers with 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
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When it came to guarding LeBron, Paschall learned just how athletic the four-time MVP really is.
«I played all right,» Paschall, who scored 11 points himself, said. «LeBron bullied me for the first time. I thought I was a strong guy until I met him, so that was kind of crazy. But the next time, I bumped him just so he doesn’t bully me again.
«I took a foul on that one, but I feel like I wound up playing well against him.»
Although Davis had his way with Paschall and everybody else the Warriors threw at him, Paschall believes he learned how to guard him better and better as the season went on.
«My best game on AD was definitely the last time we played against the Lakers,» Paschall said.
Paschall and Davis each scored 23 points when the Lakers crushed the Warriors, 116-86, on Feb. 27, at the Chase Center. Throughout the year, though, Paschall learned he could play at his own pace and great players like Davis are bound to make tough shots.
More than anything, Kerr trusting Paschall right away was a big confidence boost for the second-round draft pick.
«I feel like that was something that really helped me out with my confidence,» Paschall said. «Like hey, he really has trust in me to go out there and guard them … it was fun. It was really fun.»
How LeBron, Anthony Davis gave Eric Paschall ‘welcome to NBA’ moment originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area