After a 6-2 start during which Steve Kerr said the team was coming together faster than he expected, the Golden State Warriors have won just four of their last 13 games as they've sputtered to a 10-11 record, which currently has them out of play-in position. Even some of the wins haven't exactly been inspiring, as they struggled through a 110-106 victory over the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
The slow starts of Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson have been well documented, but overall Kerr hasn't been able to find consistent combinations this season as he's fiddled with the rotation due to both absences and on-court performance. Case in point -- in Wednesday's win, Jonathan Kuminga was completely out of the rotation for the first half, then wound up being one of the Warriors' most important players with 13 points on 6-for-6 shooting in 16 second-half minutes.
Kerr simply doesn't know what to expect on any given night, and that goes for the starters as well as the reserves. It led him to suggest Golden State might take a new approach moving forward, at least until things start to click again.
"The puzzle hasn't fit this year," Kerr said. "We've had a lot of guys playing well, but we may have to think about moving the starting lineup around from game to game depending on who we are facing. I'd still prefer to get something solid, but we haven't established anything this year. We're a quarter of a way through, so there is a lot of thought that has to go into this."
Alarm bells started to ring earlier this season when the regular starting lineup of Wiggins, Thompson, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney -- the best five-man unit in basketball last season -- wasn't performing up to its lofty standards. At that point, Kerr said he was willing to give the lineup time. Now, however, it seems that things have gone far enough to revisit the issue.
The traditional starting lineup has played to a minus-13.1 net rating in 113 minutes this season, compared to plus-21.9 last season in over 300 minutes.
|Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, Green, Looney
With Wiggins struggling to start the season (12.6 points, 4.3 rebounds on 42/26/61 shooting splits), he could be the odd man out if major shakeups are in order. The problem is that Wiggins, despite his poor offensive performance, takes on the nightly task of guarding the opponent's best perimeter player, and that's not something that Kerr can probably do without.
For what it's worth, the Warriors' best lineup that's received significant minutes is Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, Looney and Chris Paul, which was a mainstay during Green's suspension. That unit has an offensive rating of 125.5 and a defensive rating of 110, making it extremely effective thus far.
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Green came off the bench for three games during the Warriors' first-round playoff series against the Sacramento Kings this past spring, so perhaps that's a move that Kerr considers as he searches for answers. Either way, it's clear that the Warriors feel it's time for experimentation to make sure the season doesn't slip away.