Steve Kerr hints at rotation changes after Warriors’ loss to Magic


Looking at Thursday night’s box score, the Warriors’ 130-129 loss to the Orlando Magic at Amway Center was the same as their previous three losses. Really, it was the same as most of their nine games this season. 

Led by Klay Thompson’s plus-13, all five of the Warriors’ starters finished with a positive plus-minus. Kevon Looney was a plus-10, Draymond Green was a plus-5, Steph Curry was a plus-4 and Andrew Wiggins was a plus-3. 

Ty Jerome, who has bounced around the league and was signed late in the preseason to a two-way contract, was the Warriors’ only bench player with a positive plus-minus. He was a plus-3. James Wiseman and Moses Moody each were minus-9. Jordan Poole was a minus-10, and JaMychal Green was a team-low minus-15. 

From the eye test to the numbers, the Warriors’ drop off from their starters to their bench has been startling. Starting Friday against the Pelicans in New Orleans, changes could be coming. Warriors coach Steve Kerr certainly didn’t shy away from that after the Warriors’ latest loss. 

“We’re gonna have to make some adjustments, make some changes,” Kerr said to reporters. “We’ve had nine games now. We’ve had a decent look at combinations, so it’s time to try something different.” 

What exactly does that mean?

“Oh everybody’s gonna get a chance to play,” Kerr said. “We’ve got guys who are dying to get on the floor. We’ve got to find combinations that click. We’ll discuss that as a staff and we’ll figure that out.” 

 

The player who should be frothing at the mouth for any time on the court is the Warriors’ top draft pick from a year ago. Jonathan Kuminga again received a DNP (Did Not Play) in the loss, his second in a row and third on the season. 

Kuminga played 13 minutes in the Warriors’ season opener. He then played seven-plus minutes in each of the next two games, before seeing 15 minutes of action in a blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns — one where he was the lone Warrior to sit the entire first half. Kerr constantly is having to reiterate that a player’s development, especially one as young as the 20-year-old, doesn’t happen overnight. 

He did so again during his pregame media session, and said after the loss that the Warriors are looking at Kuminga, James Wiseman and Moses Moody in a “big-picture way.” But as Wiseman continues to struggle in a multitude of ways, Kuminga isn’t getting the same kind of leash as the former No. 2 pick. Kerr has said that he wants to see something else out of Kuminga in practices, and he hasn’t exactly lit it up in games thus far this season. 

If the Warriors are going to keep experimenting early on, the player who could one day have the most powers also has to be part of the project. 

When asked how at fault the Warriors’ young players are, Draymond first tried to keep the pressure off the pups, before turning to a motivational tactic in a uniting way. These losses are on everybody. The youth also has to step up. The margin for error is minuscule right now, especially with such a lack of experience. 

“I’m not gonna sit up here and point fingers or point to our young guys. It’s not how we roll,” Green said. “They gotta learn, they gotta figure it out. So yes, in fact, it is some of their fault. It is definitely some of our young guys’ fault. But it’s also some of my fault, and some of Steph’s fault and some of Klay’s fault. It’s all of our fault. 

“We’re not playing at the level that it takes to win games. … I changed the tune of my answer. Yes, it is the young guys’ fault. But it is not more their fault than it is our fault.” 

Jordan Poole was the youngster who made the leap last season, turning into a star and earning a massive contract extension. He also was able to play through struggles and losses early in his career on teams that weren’t contending for a championship. Wiseman, Kuminga, Moody and rookies Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins don’t have that luxury. 

Joe Lacob and Co.’s grand two-timeline dream is being tested in massive ways right now while a 34-year-old Curry puts on a show and looks to be worth nothing less than a blank check. Maybe Kuminga takes advantage of his opportunity as soon as Friday night. Maybe Wiseman uses that as motivation and starts playing with the anger he showed in getting a technical foul against the Magic. Maybe Poole plays less passively on offense and quickly looks like the comfortable offensive force he did a season ago. And maybe Baldwin makes his debut and wows us all.

 

RELATED: Kerr admits Dubs’ struggles feel like ‘championship hangover’

The Warriors allowed 43 points to the Magic in the third quarter. They lost a game where they took 19 more shots than their opponent. Their opponent also attempted 31 more free throws than them and made 23 more shots from the charity stripe. Thursday night’s 46-15 free throw difference was the Warriors’ largest deficit at the line since 2013.

Golden State still hasn’t won on the road. The Warriors have lost four straight games to teams with a combined 11-25 record, and two of those teams had one win when they faced the defending champions. At 3-6 on the season, this is foreign territory. 

Last season, the Warriors didn’t lose their sixth game until Dec. 18, the 30th game of the year.

“We’ve been accustomed to learning while winning,” Curry said. “You find ways to dig it out even if you don’t have it, or you’re building chemistry or whatever it is. We haven’t been in this position in a while where you understand you have to play better and you’re losing. It’s just not a good feeling, all the way around. 

“… Everybody in that locker room has to figure it out. That’s what the job requires. We understand that. It’s just tough right now to go out, keep fighting hard, understand our energy and effort was there and you don’t have any results to show for it.”

Changes are coming. Results remain a waiting game.

Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast





Source link