There was a lot of buzz Monday night about Steph Curry not checking back into the Warriors' game vs. the San Antonio Spurs until the 5:33 mark of the fourth quarter.
And the noise intensified based on how Steve Kerr answered a question about whether he's tempted to try to increase Curry's minutes this season.
"Not for me. I'm into the long game,” Kerr told the media after the 105-100 loss. “We're counting on having Steph here for a long time -- many, many years ahead. And I'm not interested in grinding through this season, which is already a very difficult season given the COVID regulations and just the nature of the games themselves -- these eerie, empty stadiums.
“For me, for our organization, we're not throwing Steph out there for 40 minutes to chase wins. We got another game tomorrow. We want Steph to be playing at a high level for many years so we're gonna stay very disciplined and try to keep him at that 34-35-minute mark."
Needless to say, certain members of "Warriors Twitter" did not like this answer.
But yours truly 100 percent supports Kerr's rationale, and it's important for fans to understand the full context.
First of all, Golden State's coach tried to get the two-time NBA MVP back into the game sooner.
Secondly, Curry is averaging "only" 33.8 minutes per game this season (tied for the 31st most in the NBA) because of a couple key circumstances:
*He has not played in the fourth quarter of six games because of blowouts -- three wins (Sacramento Kings, Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks) and three losses (Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz)
*He has played three fourth-quarter minutes or less in three games because of blowouts -- two losses (Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns) and one win (San Antonio Spurs)
Furthermore, while Curry typically re-enters the game about midway through the final period, Kerr has gone "all in" on multiple occasions this season when it comes to getting the three-time NBA champion back onto the floor. Check out Curry's fourth-quarter playing time:
*8 minutes and 41 seconds at the Denver Nuggets
*8 minutes and 16 seconds vs. the Boston Celtics
*7 minutes and 43 seconds vs. the Toronto Raptors
*6 minutes and 48 seconds at the Chicago Bulls
Warriors fans simply are frustrated that their team has lost several close/winnable games, and that is very understandable. But they didn't fall short in those instances because of Curry's playing time (or lack thereof). And blaming Kerr in this context is very silly.
“Steph is a grownup,” Kerr explained. “He’s an incredible teammate. He has full awareness of what we're doing right now and what this season is about.
"We're bringing along young players and trying to be a playoff team and make a push. Trying to do all that at once. Steph’s all in and he never gets down. That's part of his brilliance.
"He doesn't like to lose. He's a big-time competitor, but he'll hang in."
And Warriors fans need to hang in there, remain patient and see the big picture.