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Warriors have already proven ‘strength in numbers.’ Draymond Green suspension gives them chance to build on identity

Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors - Game One

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 16: The Golden State Warriors huddle prior to game one of the NBA Western Conference Final at ORACLE Arena on May 16, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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The Warriors are so deep, there’s genuine interest in whom they’ll deactivate with Draymond Green suspended.

In an NBA Finals game.

For most teams, the question would be academic. How many 13th men matter – in any game, let alone now, when rotations tighten?

But Golden State – with a motto of “strength in numbers – could easily use any of its 13 healthy and eligible players tonight. One must be deactivated with Green forced to occupy an active-list spot.

An injured Kevon Looney is a lock to fill one spot on the inactive list. Who gets the other? James Michael McAdoo was inactive in Games 1-3, but he played multiple stints in Game 4 and drew praise from Steve Kerr. Brandon Rush was inactive in Game 4, but he could start Game 5.

If Rush starts, the Warriors will add to a record they already hold.

They’ve already used 13 players in the first half of a Finals game this year – more than any team in at least the last twenty years (as far back as records date). Rush, who played late in each of the three routs that started the series, would make it No. 14.

Counting only first-half contributors better eliminates garbage time, which has been aplenty in this series. Golden State is actually counting on these players when the game is undecided.

Here’s the number of players used in the first half of a Finals game by each team in the last 20 years:


Golden State would be better off with Green. It goes without saying: Teams are better with their best players.

But depth helps, and the Warriors have historic amounts of it.

They just have to figure out which parts of it to deploy tonight.