Warriors Star Likely Benched Due to Coming Bump in Curry’s Minutes

Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors

Getty Head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors gestures during the second quarter against the Boston Celtics in Game One of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center on June 02, 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Golden State Warriors aren’t about to entirely sideline any of the players who helped carry them to the NBA Finals, but one young Dubs’ star is likely to see far more of the pine over the remainder of this series than he has grown accustomed to.

Dynamic Dubs shooting guard Jordan Poole arrived during the first half of the 2021-22 regular season as Klay Thompson continued to fight his way back from more than two years sidelined with injury. Then, when Steph Curry was forced to miss the final 12 games of the year due to a sprained foot, it was Poole again who rose to the occasion and helped the Warriors secure the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and the playoff path that has led them to the doorstep of another championship.

But as important as the third-year guard has been to Golden State’s success, if the Warriors want to claim the title over the Boston Celtics, it might be equally as important that Poole spends considerably more time on the bench than he normally would for the rest of the Finals.

Poole played 30 minutes per game across 76 regular season appearances and has averaged between 28-33 minutes in each of the team’s three postseason series prior to the NBA Finals.

However, he played just 25 minutes in Game 1 against the Celtics Thursday night at Chase Center. Many of those came alongside Curry to catastrophic results. And as Curry pushes publicly for even more court time to neutralize Boston’s advantage, analysts across the NBA believe the logical result will be more bench time for Poole.

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Poole’s Defense Problematic Against Celtics Wing Players

Jordan Poole, Warriors

GettyJayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics dribbles against Jordan Poole of the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center on June 2, 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Amin Elhassan of Meadowlark Media and Mo Dakhil of Bleacher Report convened immediately in the wake of the Warriors’ epic fourth-quarter collapse as part of a postgame segment for the “Dan Lebatard Show with Stugotz” podcast. It took fewer than five minutes for the two NBA insiders to suggest that Golden State’s biggest problem is Poole’s defense, or lack thereof.

“I’m gonna say what happened was the Warriors’ defense was non-existent all night long,” Elhassan said to open the discussion.

“I wanna jump on that train with you, and the reason why I want to jump in — I don’t think they can play Jordan Poole and Steph Curry in this series together,” Dakhil added.

“There might be a question whether you can play Jordan Poole at all, bro,” Elhassan responded.

“In 16 minutes with the two of them on the court, [the Warriors] had a negative 40.8 net rating. Not good at all,” Dakhil said. “You’ve given the Celtics extra targets to go at. Poole is terrible defensively, and it works perfectly for the Celtics.”

Elhassan noted that the Warriors tried different looks with both Curry and Poole on the floor, including zone schemes and a box-and-one defense, though nothing could slow Boston down.

Haralabos Voulgaris, a multi-millionaire NBA bettor and former front office member of the Dallas Mavericks, appeared on The Bill Simmons Podcast following Thursday’s game and offered an equally scathing, albeit more concise, criticism of Poole’s defensive prowess.

“Poole was bad, that really helped the Celtics,” Simmons noted first. “He was 2 for 7 [shooting] and defensively, we’ve talked about it all playoffs.”

“He’s a pylon,” Voulgaris responded.

Curry Calls Out Warriors Coaches For More Minutes in NBA Finals

Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors

GettyStephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors dribbles against Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center on June 2, 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Simmons went on to suggest that perhaps Golden State head coach Steve Kerr should take away minutes from Thompson and Draymond Green in favor of Curry and Otto Porter Jr.

Another thought he voiced was that the presence of 38-year-old Andre Iguodala, while a cagey veteran and defensive genius, hurt the Warriors against this Celtics team — particularly when he was paired with Green on the court.

“Kerr is so loyal to [Thompson] and [Green] but in this game, for whatever reason, [Andrew] Wiggins and Porter together, maybe [Kevon] Looney, Curry and I don’t know who the fifth guy is, but I thought Porter was really effective in this game and it was almost like [Kerr] stayed away from him too long,” Simmons said. “When [Green] is that much of a liability offensively, I wonder if [Kerr] will have the courage to just sit him the next time?”

By the time the final whistle sounded, Thompson led all Warriors players with 39 minutes. Curry and Green were tied for second with 38 minutes played. Wiggins saw 35 minutes, Looney and Poole each played 25 minutes, and Porter recorded 24 minutes on the floor. Iguodala was in the game for 12 minutes.

Wherever the playing time comes from and whatever the groupings, Curry made it clear to Kerr and the rest of the Golden State staff following Thursday night’s Game 1 that the Warriors need to win this series “by any means necessary.”

Curry’s strong implication was that one of said means revolves around putting the team’s best player on the court for longer stretches. The Dubs won the first and third quarters, of which Curry played the entirety, by 18 points total. They lost the second and fourth quarters, during which Curry rested a total of 10 minutes, by a combined 30 points.

“At most, we got six games left,” Curry said. “Make the necessary adjustments.”

“It’s about winning four games by any means necessary, and for 42 minutes, we did enough to win a game tonight, and that’s not how basketball works,” Curry added. “I think everything starts to come on the table when you look at trying to get ourselves back in the series on Sunday and taking it from there.”

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