Warriors

Steph discusses balance between winning, player development

Warriors
Warriors' James Wiseman, Steph Curry
USATSI

The Warriors know that their window with Steph Curry is finite, but they’re trying to stay patient for their future.

Gelling a group of veterans together with limited practice is one thing. Incorporating some fresh faces into the rotation is another.

Curry discussed what it’s like to be on a team balancing a win-now approach with the development of young players like James Wiseman, Jordan Poole and Nico Mannion.

“We give guys opportunities when they earn it and deserve it,” Curry told reporters on a video conference Wednesday. “But obviously experience does help in terms of winning games. For our coaching staff and this team, we haven’t been in this position in a very long time.”

The Warriors are 19-18 entering the second half and Warriors coach Steve Kerr said it’s reflective of the team’s season so far.

Wiseman, who missed a COVID-19 test over the break but was cleared to play Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers, is instrumental to the Warriors’ ceiling this year. He’s been stop-and-go with a wrist injury that caused him to miss 11 games. He also finds himself in occasional foul trouble and was moved from the starting five to the bench in the first half. 

The Warriors are still high on their No. 2 overall pick, believing he could play a huge part in the future. He finished the first half averaging 11.8 points and 5.9 rebounds over 20.8 minutes per game.

 

Poole and Mannion, meanwhile, were called up from the G League for the first-half finale in Phoenix and both acquitted themselves well. Poole dropped 26 points in 26 minutes, including 13 in an impressive second quarter, against the Suns, while Mannion also impressed in his first career NBA start.

“It’s kind of been the theme all year,” Curry said. “Just out of necessity, everybody has to be ready because it is such a challenge in terms of everything you just said -- in terms of developing guys, in terms of managing minutes and all of the things that you have to do in 72 games. 

“I’m sure there will be different decisions in the second half. We understand where we are in the standings, we understand what the schedule looks like and what we need to do to get where we want to be at the end of the season.”

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Kerr said Wednesday that some forthcoming lineup changes will be made with the offense in mind.

“It’s not so much a different style, just trying to find different combinations that compliment one another and develop consistency at both ends,” Kerr said. “Combinations that can be solid defensively but also generate shots for each other and generate better offense. We’ve struggled offensively for much of the year.”

On Thursday, he announced Poole will get more minutes, ostensibly as the backup point guard behind Curry, meaning Brad Wanamaker's minutes could decrease.

If and when the young players get into the game, they'll be thrown into the fire. The Warriors start the second half as the No. 10 seed and with a brutal three-game stretch against the Clippers, Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers.

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