Ahead of the Golden State Warriors‘ Game 5 showdown with Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets on Wednesday, chatter about Steve Kerr potentially starting the contest with his vaunted “death lineup” had Dub Nation in a tizzy. And why wouldn’t it?
Over a combined 39 minutes on the court, the five-man crew of Stephen Curry, Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green outscored Denver by 23 points. Also: the group’s offensive rating and effective field-goal percentage currently sit at 141.2 and 72.4, respectively — the top marks of the NBA postseason.
Ultimately, Kerr gave the people what they wanted in Game 5 and the Dubs closed out the series as a result. However, the possibility remains that he could run with an entirely different look in future playoff bouts.
Maybe he wants a traditional center — or the closest thing Golden State has to one — in Kevon Looney? Maybe Otto Porter or defensive ace Gary Payton II sneak in there?
In any case, one Warriors star has shown an incredible willingness to come off the bench, and we’re not talking about Steph, who has done so recently while working his way back from a foot injury.
Andrew Wiggins Is Willing to Do Whatever His Team Needs
He may be fresh off his first-ever All-Star appearance — and he has set the nets ablaze through five playoff games with shooting marks of 52.9% overall and 53.8% from deep — but Andrew Wiggins nonetheless says he’d accept a move to the second unit if he was asked to make the change.
“Whatever the coaches want to do,” Wiggins said after Wednesday’s shootaround. “Whatever they think is best to win the game. Steph came off the bench for a couple of games… We’ve got to do whatever we need to do to win.”
Of course, coming off the bench would be a whole new world for the former No. 1 overall pick. He has yet to do so through 598 professional games (plus his postseason appearances), 35 games as a collegiate at Kansas and even dating back to high school, to the best of his recollection.
Asked if the transition would be difficult for him, Wiggins espoused a team-first philosophy, noting that winning playoff games trumps everything.
“Right now, it’s playoffs, so you gotta throw your ego out the window and do whatever you gotta do to win,” Wiggins said. “That’s what it comes down to.”
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Dubs Criticized for Over-Fouling
In an effort to identify the one fix that every 2022 playoff team “desperately needs to make,” Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes hit the Warriors for fouling the Nuggets too often. Golden State has committed an average of 23.2 fouls per contest, which puts the club far closer to the bottom of the league than the top.
The Warriors are still in fine shape because the Nuggets are a dream matchup in their shorthanded state. But bigger picture, Golden State has to curb its hacking in order to play at the tempo that makes it most dangerous. Stopping the game so frequently and putting opponents at the line trims transition opportunities and allows defensive personnel to get set. The Warriors want a fast pace and scrambled situations so they can do this.
The foul issues won’t hurt them against the Nuggets, but they could be an issue in subsequent rounds.