Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

When discussing his plans for the resumption of NBA basketball during the early months of the pandemic in 2020, commissioner Adam Silver quoted his late predecessor David Stern, who told him, “Never make a decision until you have to.” The specific application of the advice was that the development of potential vaccines and regulations surrounding COVID-19 were changing so quickly, it made no sense to decide on a course of action in April when the situation would likely be vastly different in July. The sentiment is almost universally relevant when it comes to making tough choices.

Draymond Green’s left ankle injury that he sustained during a pickup game prior to the start of Golden State Warriors training camp, allowed Steve Kerr and the rest of the organization to postpone a crucial decision about the starting lineup. With Green announcing that he’ll make his season debut against the Houston Rockets on Sunday, the wait is over. Either Green, Chris Paul or Kevon Looney is likely headed to the second unit.

Green came off the bench when he returned from a one-game suspension for stomping on the chest of Domantas Sabonis during this past spring’s first-round playoff series against the Sacramento Kings, so that might make the most sense on Sunday while Green is still on a minutes limit. But, when Green returns to full strength, Kerr’s going to have a major decision on his hands.

Here’s a look at the three most likely starting lineup options from which Kerr must choose moving forward.

Option 1: Tried and true

It’s hard to argue with the best starting lineup in the NBA. Last season, this was the most efficient of any five-man unit in the league that played at least 100 minutes together, and they played 331.

Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, Green, Looney

128

106.1

+21.9

On paper, it would make sense to keep this lineup intact until it’s proven to be ineffective. However, the addition of Paul makes things tricky, since the 18-year vet has started every single game of his career, including the first two of this season. Paul coming off the bench might be an easier sell now that he’s already had some experience commanding the Warriors’ second unit, admirably keeping the team afloat with Curry on the bench.

At the very least, Kerr can rely on statistics to make his point if this is the lineup he wants to go with.

Option 2: The new normal

PG: Chris Paul
SG: Stephen Curry
SF: Klay Thompson
PF: Andrew Wiggins
C: Kevon Looney

This is the lineup that started most of the Warriors’ preseason games and their first two games of the regular season, which they split. So far, the lineup has proven to be perfectly mediocre in an extremely limited sample size of 24 minutes.

Paul, Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, Looney

109.6

109.6

0.0

The benefit of this lineup is that you split up Green and Paul, assuring that one master ball-handler will be on the floor at all times. The same goes for separating Green and Looney, who are both excellent defenders but also non-shooters who can potentially clog things up offensively.

The downside is, you start the game with Green — your best defender and the player who’s been described as the engine of the Warriors offense — on the bench.

If Kerr is going to convince Green to come off the bench full-time, this lineup is probably going to have to perform much better.

Option 3: The “Death God” lineup

PG: Chris Paul
SG: Stephen Curry
SF: Klay Thompson
PF: Andrew Wiggins
C: Draymond Green

“Lineup of Death” plus “Point God” equals “Death God,” right? So who’s with me? OK, even if the name doesn’t stick (it surely won’t), this is an appealing option for Kerr. We’ve seen a version of this in previous years, most notably with Jordan Poole in the place of Paul, which was dubbed the “Poole Party” lineup. This Warriors unit with Paul hasn’t had a chance to test its mettle yet since Green has been out, but the Poole Party wasn’t as much fun as people seemed to think last season.

Curry, Poole, Thompson, Wiggins, Green

107.5

109.5

-2.0

Obviously this lineup would look much different with Paul in the place of Poole, but the problem remains the same: By going this small, the offense needs to be dominant in order to make up for the defensive shortcomings with Looney on the bench. Kerr has continued to laud Looney’s presence in the starting lineup over the years, saying it helps the team set a defensive tone from the jump.

It’s going to take a lot for Kerr to bump Looney from the starting lineup, but if anyone’s going to do it, it will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer who’s one of the greatest point guards of all time.

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The post With Draymond Green back, here are three Warriors starting lineup options from which Steve Kerr must choose appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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