Eric Paschall landed with Timberwolves after nearly stepping away from basketball
The 6-foot-6 forward played significant roles in all three of his NBA seasons, starting games for Utah and Golden State.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Eric Paschall did not enjoy his free agency process this offseason. In fact, it nearly ended the 25-year-old’s playing career.
“It was a hell of a journey, I’ll say that,” Paschall said.
The 6-foot-6 forward had played significant roles in all three of his NBA seasons, starting games for Utah and Golden State. He made 37% of his 3-point shot attempts last season. He felt like he showed he could even defend on the perimeter. Yet when he hit the open market over the summer, abundant interest wasn’t there.
“Honestly, it was a whirlwind of emotions,” Paschall said. “Like, I’m home, just working out, everybody is gettin’ calls. I’m not. I’ve shown it. . … So it was like what was happening?”
There were times when Paschall considered going to play overseas, but at other points, he thought about giving up the sport entirely. Maybe, he thought, a break was necessary.
Instead, he decided he may as well extend his career for at least one more season. Frankly, the Villanova product doesn’t know what he’d do if he wasn’t playing basketball. At 25, he is just now entering his prime. Calling it a wrap didn’t make sense now.
But that was some insight into the state of Paschall’s mind this offseason.
“I feel like mentally I wasn’t in the greatest place. Just tired. I was like, ‘Ah, I might just stop playing basketball,’ ” he said. “That just proves mental health is real. Some days were good, some days were bad. Even during the season last year, some days I felt good, some days I just wasn’t. But you gotta fight to see another day. That was pretty much it.”
He got through it with the help of conversations with his peers, including Cavaliers star guard Donovan Mitchell, who played with Paschall in Utah last season. Mitchell was in Paschall’s ear “(darn) near everyday,” telling the forward he could not give his career up.
“So we had a lot of tough conversations. But he was a big help. Taj Bell, who plays overseas, he was a big help,” Paschall said. “(Retired Villanova) coach Jay Wright was huge during that process. Obviously my family, agent, my friends from home … was a big help with that, too. I had a lot of good people in my corner. And had to have a lot of tough conversations, but I’m glad I had ’em.”
Because it led Paschall to Minnesota. Well, those conversations and his previous relationship with Timberwolves assistant general manager Dell Demps, who coached Paschall in Utah. Demps informed Paschall that the Wolves had a two-way spot available, and Paschall took him up on the offer.
“It wasn’t really the easiest decision. Had to have a lot of tough conversations about it,” Paschall said. “But I feel like I’m in a pretty good place now. Pretty happy that I’m here.”
And he’s ready to help the Timberwolves in any way possible.
“Just continue to play how I am. Just try to be a dog,” he said. “Bring that toughness, bring that grittiness. And always play the game of basketball the right way. I feel like I can do that anywhere. They’re just giving me an opportunity.”
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