OAKLAND -- After opening training camp saying he hoped to limit, if not totally avoid, Draymond Green’s usage at center, Warriors coach Steve Kerr conceded Saturday that plan has been scrapped.
Green was at center for the last 11 minutes, and 17 overall, of the 108-103 loss to at Utah on Wednesday. There will be more of that, at least until DeMarcus Cousins is cleared for game activity.
“The best big men that we have, that’s who we’re going to play,” Kerr said Saturday, before tipoff against Dallas at Oracle Arena. “So that means Draymond is going to play more center this year than ever before, because we don’t have the same depth that we’ve had in the past at that position.
“Which is ironic because we used to talk about how many centers we had.”
The Warriors last season had the conventional centers: JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia and Damian Jones. They also had converted power forwards David West, Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney.
The Warriors opened the season with Jones, backed up by Bell and Looney, hoping those three could hold up until Cousins was cleared a few months into the season.
Jones sustained a torn pectoral injury on Dec. 1 at Detroit and is not expected back this season. Looney has been competent defensively but offers little on offense, while Bell has had more bad moments than good.
“With DJ out for the year and DeMarcus not playing yet, ” Kerr said. “ . . . I don’t know . . . Do we have any true centers?”
The answer is no. So Green, an undersized power forward (6-foot-7, 230) who battles like a mongoose in the paint, is the primary default option.
Green has previously done well in limited minutes at center and will continue to share the position with Bell and Looney. There will be occasional help from Jonas Jerebko, who, at 6-10, is the tallest active player on the roster.
It’s far from ideal, and it’s one more reason the Warriors are yearning for Cousins to be physically and mentally ready to play.