Warriors Coach Steve Kerr Addresses Rotation Crunch With Chris Paul’s Return

Warriors guard Chris Paul talks to Lester Quinones

Getty Lester Quinones #25 and Chris Paul #3 of the Golden State Warriors speak during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Golden State Warriors have found stability, winning nine of their last 11 games, including their 128-110 rout of the LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, February 22.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr will again toe the delicate line of incorporating Chris Paul back in the rotation when he returns from a broken hand surgery. Kerr said the 38-year-old point guard will rejoin the lineup in their upcoming four-game road trip on the East Coast next week.

“Once we’re fully healthy, we’re going to have a numbers crunch really every night,” Kerr told reporters before their huge win over the Lakers. “We’re going to have to decide who’s closing each half. It will probably be fluid based on how the game’s going. But the only way it can work is if everybody buys in if everybody accepts the fact that every night can be a little different.”

During the Warriors’ resurgence, Kerr has leaned on his best five: Steph Curry, rookie Brandin Podziemski, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and Draymond Green.

“We can’t wait to get Chris back, obviously,” Kerr said. “He’s been one of our best players and he’s been in all of our best lineups. Great player, a great point guard, who does so many good things for us. So it’s great to have the option to close with him, just like it’s great to have the option to close with several other guys, too. It won’t be easy but, like I said, as long as everybody’s committed to just winning the game and recognizing that every night could be a little different, I think we’ll be in good shape.”

Klay Thompson Embraces Unselfishness as 6th Man

Klay Thompson‘s inconsistent shooting again reared its ugly head against the Lakers as the Warriors’ five-time All-Star only hit 1 of 9 shots for just 3 points after firing a season-high 35 points in his first game off the bench before the All-Star break.

But his shooting struggles were overshadowed by his unselfish play.

Thompson assisted Jackson-Davis in half of his eight field goals made. The rookie big man finished with 17 points.

Jackson-Davis later told reporters that Thompson instilled confidence in him before the game.

As the pair clicked, Kerr plans to have Jackson-Davis be the rolling big man in the second unit.

“I have a great connection with CP and Klay but that’s coach’s decision to decide who the best fit is out there,” Jackson-Davis told reporters. And so, I’m going to leave it up to him because I know that he’s going to make the best decision for the team.”

‘I’ve Never Been a Foul-Baiter’

Curry had an interesting response when he was asked to comment on why he only got two free throws against the Lakers.

“I’ve never been what they call a foul baiter or worried about selling calls,” Curry told reporters after scoring a game-high 32 points. “I’m not really obsessed over it. I made jokes like when ‘I got two free throws a day I cheered’ and let out a nice little yell just being sarcastic.”

While Curry felt there were “like two or three possessions in the last three games where there should have been a foul,” he thinks arguing with the referees is just a waste of time.

“I’ve been trying to not even engage in that and for the most part, it’s helped because you can’t control whether you get there or not,” Curry said. “You still got to do what you need to do to help your team win — make an impact, score the ball whatever it is. So it’s nice to have this window where no matter if I’m getting [to the free throw line] or not, I’m still shooting efficiently and getting where I need to on the floor. But if there are foul calls I hope that they’re called. So it’s just one of those you don’t get distracted by type of mentalities.”

Read More