Two Warriors May Be out of the Rotation for the Foreseeable Future

Steve Kerr

Getty Steve Kerr talks to James Wiseman during a game against the Indiana Pacers.

The Golden State Warriors are getting healthier as they near the second half of the season, and two reserves are falling out of the rotation as a result.

The Warriors were forced to play 10 games without a true center after James Wiseman and Kevon Looney went down with injuries, but both big men were able to return to action this week and played key roles in wins over the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers.

But their return meant that two reserves who had stepped up during the last month were back to the end of the bench and out of the rotation for the foreseeable future.

Steve Kerr Explains Changes

Head coach Steve Kerr explained this week that he was sticking with a 10-man rotation as Looney and Wiseman returned. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau noted, that meant forward Juan Toscano-Anderson and guard Mychal Mulder would be falling out of the rotation.

Mulder didn’t see the floor at all in the team’s two wins this week, and Toscano-Anderson managed just three minutes against the Pacers. Letourneau noted that even though both had been thriving during their stretch in the regular rotation, it’s not clear when either could be back.

“It doesn’t help Toscano-Anderson and Mulder that they don’t necessarily have a clear route back to the rotation. Four of the five bench players ahead of them on the depth chart — Wiseman, Eric Paschall, Kent Bazemore and Damion Lee — have solidified their roles,” he wrote.

Kerr had already hinted that the changes would be coming, saying there would be tough decisions once the team’s centers were back in action, but said he would try to find situations to insert both Mulder and Toscano-Anderson down the stretch.

“So long as everybody’s healthy, I’m probably going to play 10 guys,” he said. “That’s the way the league works. You just always have to stay ready for your opportunity because you never know when it’s going to come. That’s my message for both guys.”

Frontcourt Rotation Shifts With Return of Looney and Wiseman

Even with Looney and Wiseman back in the lineup, the team’s rotation has looked a bit different in the last two games, especially in how Kerr managed the frontcourt. As NBC Sports Bay Area noted, he opted not to bring in Wiseman to close out the win over the Knicks on Tuesday, instead going with Looney at power forward and Draymond Green at small-ball center.

Kerr said he wasn’t sure yet how Wiseman would return from injury, but added that he’s been impressed with his play so far.

“You never know how a young guy is gonna respond,” he said. “But, again, the thing with James is that he’s so talented. Some things out there come really easily to him.”

The return of Looney and Wiseman allows the Warriors to move away from the small-ball lineups they put out over the last 10 games, a stretch in which they went 5-5. The back-to-back wins have allowed the Warriors to move back into eighth place in the Western Conference.

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