Charles Barkley Rips Warriors’ New ‘Little Death Lineup’

Steph Curry

Getty Steph Curry looks on before a Golden State Warriors game.

The newest version of the Golden State Warriors‘ small-ball lineup is making waves through the first two games of the playoffs, but Charles Barkley isn’t sold on it.

In each of the first two wins against the Denver Nuggets, the Warriors closed out the first half with what has been dubbed the new “death lineup” — Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. The smaller lineup is reminiscent of the ones that the team regularly rolled out during the five-year run to the NBA Finals, and has been nearly impossible for the Nuggets to stop this year.

While it may be working against the Warriors’ first-round opponent, Barkley warns that it could be a liability in the later rounds.

The latest Warriors news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Warriors newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Warriors!

Barkley Warns of Dangers Ahead

Speaking during halftime of Monday’s blowout win over the Nuggets, just minutes after the “death lineup” went on a 22-8 run over the end of the second quarter, Barkley called out Nuggets center Nikola Jokic for not feasting on the much smaller defenders. He also predicted that some of the league’s best big men, who could await the Warriors if they continue to advance through the playoffs, would give the lineup even more trouble.

“The Joker has to take advantage of playing against a six-foot-six guy. You can’t tell me you’re the MVP and they got Draymond guarding you,” Barkley said, adding, “y’all put that little death lineup out there, put it out there against Giannis and Joel Embiid and see what happens. They’ll kill ’em.”

The lineup was missing during the regular season, as Green, Thompson and Curry rarely took the court together as they all suffered injuries at various points. As Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports noted, Warriors coach Steve Kerr put them together for five minutes in Game 1, leading to a plus-127.3 net rating.

Green’s Impact

Jokic has been frustrated by the Warriors and Green’s defense through the first two games, culminating with his ejection in the fourth quarter of Monday’s game after getting a second technical foul for complaining about non-calls.

Green has played an important role on the other end of the court as well, serving as the facilitator for his more offensively talented teammates. After Monday’s win, Green said he relished his role.

“It’s a passer’s paradise for me,” Green said, via CBS Sports. “You’ve got those three guys [Curry, Thompson and Poole] out there at the same time, for me as a passer, that’s heaven. … You can’t ask for anything more on the offensive end, any more options than that.”

Curry also addressed the potential defensive liabilities of the smaller lineup, saying it can work if the Warriors continue to press on the offensive end.

“Technically I guess we are undersized, but you have to bring a defensive force and effort and energy, and then you can again just turn it into an advantage on the other end of the floor,” Curry said. “Seeing [Poole] be able to make plays in the pick-and-roll with me and Klay spaced and Draymond setting [screens] and Wiggs slashing. It checks a lot of boxes on the list of what would you want for a potent offensive lineup.”

READ NEXT: Steph Curry Gets Honest About His Long-Term Future With the Warriors