Warriors

Why Kerr is preaching patience with Warriors' starting lineup

Warriors

Steve Kerr remains committed to the Warriors' starting lineup, whether or not it's Golden State's best five-man unit right now.

Steph Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and James Wiseman have shown flashes together since Green's season debut on Jan. 1, but they haven't quite yet clicked. In Monday's win over the Los Angeles Lakers, for instance, Oubre was the only Golden State starter to finish with a positive point differential (plus-5) during his best game of the season.

Kerr said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto and Kolsky" that he will continue to start those five in order for them to build chemistry.

"If I had to win a game tomorrow, I wouldn't start that group," Kerr said. "If this was a one-time thing, I would start a different group and probably go to some different combinations. But this is the team that I want to see develop a really good defensive identity, and James needs to be out there. Kelly and Andrew need to be together on the wings, guarding LeBron [James], and Kawhi [Leonard], and Paul George and all those guys."

Download and subscribe to the Dubs Talk Podcast

 

Curry and Green have a chemistry befitting of players who have been teammates for almost a decade, but Oubre, Wiggins and Wiseman remain relative newcomers. Wiseman hasn't even played 20 games across college and the NBA since he graduated high school in 2019, Wiggins didn't play a single game with both Curry and Green in the Warriors' lineup last season and Golden State traded for Oubre not even two months ago.

Wiseman barely participated in training camp and Green didn't at all, so the Warriors' starters have really only practiced together for a little over a month. They've started nine games together in 2021, a byproduct of a compressed schedule in the middle of a still-ongoing global pandemic.

The group's lack of cohesion, according to Kerr, is only natural.

"So it's gonna take some time, and in the meantime there's gonna be some growing pains," Kerr continued."But I'm OK with it because for us to be great down the road -- whether it's by the end of this year or even next season -- James has to develop, and Kelly and Andrew have to get comfortable. I'm willing to sacrifice some things early in the season to try to get to where we want to be later on."

RELATED: Warriors 'can't rely on emotion' all season, Kerr says

The starting lineup's slow start hasn't sunk the Warriors just yet. Golden State is 5-4 since Green's return, entering Tuesday in eighth place in the Western Conference.

There still are 59 games remaining on the Warriors' schedule, and Kerr sounds like he plans to use each one he can in order to ensure Golden State's starting lineup lives up to its collective potential.