Warriors Make Surprising Change to Starting Lineup: Report

Draymond Green

Getty Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green and coach Steve Kerr.

The Golden State Warriors are making yet another change to their starting five.

As the Warriors prepare for their regular season opener next Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, they’ll do so with a completely new lineup. That would be because after waiving Alfonzo McKinnie — who had started during the preseason — the Warriors are now going with Glenn Robinson III as their new starting small forward.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic broke down how Robinson became a starter essentially by default.

“Robinson won the job by default. Alfonzo McKinnie’s non-guaranteed contract got him cut. Alec Burks bowed out with an ankle sprain, missing all five preseason games. Robinson was the only leftover true small forward.”

The 25-year-old Robinson has never really been a permanent starter in this league. He once started 27 games for the Indiana Pacers during the 2016-17 season, but he’s only started 51 of his 219 appearances in the league.

Steve Kerr Expresses Confidence in His New Starter

Despite his forward’s lack of starting experience, head coach Steve Kerr still feels confident in the 6-foot-6 forward.

“Glenn is rock solid,” Kerr said. “He has more to his game than I realized. I always looked at him as a spot-up 3-point guy, but he’s a good cutter, understands our split action, our movement. I’m really glad Glenn’s here.”

Robinson went 5-of-10 from beyond the arc during the preseason and has converted on 36.1 percent of his 3-point attempts during his career.

While Kerr complimented Robinson’s ability as an offensive player, it’s on the defensive end where he’ll make his mark. The young forward will be tasked with guarding Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard on opening night.

“We’ll see,” Kerr said. “I haven’t really watched Glenn playing against those guys. We’ve been busy with other issues that are more important at this stage. We’re going to put him on those guys. The good thing is he’s been in the league for a while now and generally knows players, felt what it’s like. He’ll get a shot.”

Warriors’ New Starting Five

With Robinson in at small forward, Golden State will round out their starting five with Stephen Curry at point guard, D’Angelo Russell at shooting guard, Draymond Green at power forward and Marquese Chriss at center.

Chriss is the other new inclusion as he was recently signed to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract after the Warriors waived Alfonzo McKinnie. The move was necessary because Golden State is not only strapped against the hard cap, they were desperate at the center position.

Original projected starting center Willie Cauley-Stein remains sidelined due to a foot injury, Kevon Looney is questionable for the season opener due to a hamstring ailment and Omari Spellman has a tweaked back.

In other words, this is far from the squad that dominated the league over the past five seasons — most notably the last two years with the super team featuring the likes of Curry, Green, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant.

For the first time in years, Golden State will actually have to overcome the naysayers and win games as the underdogs.

Quite the role reversal from last season.