Warriors

Ask Kerith: Will Kerr change Warriors' starting lineup?

Warriors
  • Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, takes you inside the team as only she can throughout the season with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #AskKerith

Before the Warriors played the Utah Jazz, coach Steve Kerr said he did not see himself changing the starting lineup “any time soon.”

After the game, one where the Jazz raced to a 14-0 lead and the Warriors trailed by 30 at halftime, Kerr’s message shifted

“There’s no doubt we have to assess everything as a staff, as an organization. How we’re looking at this season. What our goals are. Everything is up for adjustment,” he said. 

Kerr has explained he wants to give his team 20 games to find their identity. Well, after 16 games, they’re 8-8. What’s the trade-off between allowing growing pains to continue for worthwhile player development, versus collecting some disjointed losses that begin with lopsided first quarters?

Kerr believes the Steph Curry-Andrew Wiggins-Kelly Oubre-Draymond Green-James Wiseman starting lineup is his best defensively. He emphasizes defensive principles the most.

But what happens when an opponent’s defense knows it can sag off Oubre and Green to smother Curry? What happens when Oubre takes four shots (and goes 1-4) before Curry’s first attempt? 

This is not to blame Oubre. Shooters get themselves going by shooting. I’m saying this situation feels ripe for a shake up to benefit everyone. 

I wonder how much are Curry and Green grumbling behind the scenes. These are not the first quarters they’re accustomed to playing when they’re on the floor together.

Some fans are speaking their grumbles into bullhorns. Is Kerr being too stubborn with his loyalty to this starting five? If everything is up for adjustment, why not try a different approach against the Wolves? 

 

Time for your mailbag questions!

On Instagram, @therealmooody and @the_slim_reaperr were curious about Eric Paschall and whether he should be in the starting lineup. 

I understand if fans see Paschall scoring a dozen or so off the bench … and the Warriors need more scoring from their starting five...so boom, why not plug in Paschall?

That’s not a good idea. Does the starting lineup become Curry-Wiggins-Paschall-Draymond-Wiseman? Three bigs on the floor at once?

The second unit needs a group that can hold leads or chip into deficits. Paschall has been the hot player off the bench. Keep him there for some steadiness. 

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I think Wiseman’s early body of work can be in the conversation. 

After the Jazz game, among all rookies, Wiseman was second in scoring (11.8), second in rebounding (6.1) and first in blocks (1.4 pg).

It’s fun when he has seven-dunk night against the Spurs. It’s not as fun when he’s fouling and frustrated. The key will be consistency in his performances, and more comfort in the offense so his teammates can feed him as a lob threat. 

This question came after the Knicks game, when Draymond Green was ejected, a call that officials later made clear was a mistake.  Kerr and the players agreed Draymond’s ejection was not why they lost, but it greatly reduces the chances to win when your best defender is off the floor. Defense against the Knicks was atrocious. Kerr called the reaching and hacking “undisciplined.” 

This game illustrated, yet again, how essential Draymond is to the team’s success. He left the game in the second quarter with 8 assists, by the way.  Draymond is not going to play every game this season. So yes, the Warriors need to be tough enough to win without him.

They’re also going to have to win games without Steph, or a collection of players when the grind of the season starts dinging knees and ankles. 

Draymond, for sure. If he wants that career after his playing days. 

His understanding of the game and how everything should flow on the court will be in demand by all 30 teams. There are different paths to consider. Some people don’t like the spotlight a head coach receives, the relentless duties that come from being a face of the franchise, having their daily decisions nitpicked by outsiders. Would Draymond have the patience for all the other “stuff” that isn’t the actual game?

The media demands are large. And repetitive. Draymond can certainly handle that. But I wonder if Draymond has his sights on a front office job or owning a team someday. 

 

Remember Draymond’s spat with Mark Cuban over “ownership”? Draymond is very conscious of who has power, who makes decisions, and the demographics in front offices that are running a league that’s majority Black. He might want to change that from the inside. 

I wonder if Shaun Livingston had the same thought. He’s in the Warriors’ front office right now

The league determines what jerseys teams wear on a given night. 

Check out the NBA’s Lockervision site to see what jerseys are coming up on the schedule.

Yes, any game where a two-way player dresses with the big club counts against their 50 day total. That’s why Kerr is careful about managing games for Juan Toscano-Anderson and Nico Mannion. 

RELATED: Lacob reveals plans for Warriors statues, Iguodala included

I want fans to see the whole show. It starts with the GIANT videoboard, the lights and sound are immersive, and I’ve been impressed by the seat quality way high up in the stands. The views are honestly good. 

I want fans to experience each other as well, if that makes sense. A packed house roaring for the Dubs in a playoff game? That’s the stuff of lifetime memories. 

On Instagram, @tinosuperbeehee asked, will Marquese Chriss be back this year? 

The door is open for Chriss’ return given the recovery time for his injury. 

The Warriors announced at the end of December that Chriss had surgery for his right syndesmosis ankle and fibular fracture injury, and he’ll be re-evaluated in about three months. That’s the end of March. Playoffs start mid-May. 

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.