Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr inserted veteran Kevon Looney into the group’s beginning lineup rather than rookie middle James Wiseman for Monday night time’s sport in opposition to the Minnesota Timberwolves in San Francisco.
Talking earlier than the sport, Kerr mentioned he hoped the transfer would enhance the unit’s struggling protection.
“Mainly, you guys have heard me all 12 months attempting to determine ourselves as a defensive group, and the final two video games have been actually disappointing defensively, significantly proper out of the gate, first quarter,” Kerr mentioned. “We gave up 41 to the Knicks, I feel, and 38 to Utah. So, I will go along with my veteran middle, my veteran group collectively. That group occurs to be our greatest defensive 5 on the season, that mixture. So, the hope is we will get off to a greater begin.”
Kerr hinted at lineup adjustments after the Warriors’ blowout loss to the Jazz on Saturday, saying on the time that “we’ve to evaluate all the things as a employees.” Veteran swingman Kelly Oubre Jr. has struggled all through the season, taking pictures simply 20.2% from past the arc, however Kerr determined to take out Wiseman, the 19-year-old who additionally has struggled with consistency on each ends of the ground.
The Warriors’ common beginning 5 — which consisted of Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Oubre, Draymond Green and Wiseman — entered Monday with the worst web ranking within the league (minus-20.3) amongst lineups which have logged no less than 100 minutes this season, according to NBA Advanced Stats.
Whereas the unit has struggled on each side of the ball, Kerr reiterated that his focus is on the defensive finish.
“[We] proceed to attempt to pound residence the identification to this group that we’ve to be a defensive-minded group if we will be any good,” Kerr mentioned. “So, I am aware of all of the discuss and many strategies and everyone desires to weigh in. ‘Do we’d like this? Do we’d like that? Do we have to put extra taking pictures round folks?’
“I am effectively conscious of all that chatter, however I’ll proceed to return to the theme that I’ve tried to hammer residence from day one: We have got to be good defensively, and we have not been good the final couple video games, so this can be a refined change, we’ll see if it makes a distinction.”
Looney, 24, has lengthy been a Kerr favourite for his regular play, however he has handled a wide range of well being points for over a 12 months, and the Warriors have been cautious about his workload. Kerr mentioned that Wiseman will now take Looney’s spot within the rotation with the second unit, coming in across the center of the primary quarter.
Kerr mentioned Wiseman dealt with the benching “completely” when he instructed the rookie in regards to the transfer earlier Monday.
“He understands this isn’t a demotion by any means. It is merely part of his growth,” Kerr mentioned. “And as I’ve mentioned to you guys many instances, we have plenty of shifting components. We’re attempting to develop younger gamers and be a playoff group, be a contender, and we’re attempting to do all that without delay.
“And so a part of that course of goes to incorporate occasional adjustments to lineups, mixtures, no matter which means, and I am very assured that this finally will probably be a very good a part of James’ growth. He is nonetheless going to play, nevertheless it provides him a barely totally different function, and a special manner to take a look at the sport, and all of it goes ahead.”
Wiseman, the No. 2 total decide within the 2020 NBA draft, is averaging 11.eight factors and 6.1 rebounds in 21.four minutes a sport this season.
Looney is averaging 3.eight factors and three.7 rebounds in 14.1 minutes.