Steve Kerr Mulls Lineup Shakeup After Warriors Barely Beat Blazers: ‘Puzzle Hasn’t Fit’

Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Warriors

Getty (R-L) Stephen Curry #30, Klay Thompson #11 and Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors.

The Golden State Warriors as we know it is about to change.

After their young, athletic players energized the lifeless Warriors to pull off a 110-106 win over the lottery-bound Portland Trail Blazers, Steve Kerr’s long rope on their championship dynasty core is getting shorter.

“The puzzle hasn’t fit this year,” Kerr told reporters. “We’ve had a lot of guys playing well, but we may have to think about moving the starting lineup around from game to game depending on who we are facing. I’d still prefer to get something solid, but we haven’t established anything this year. We’re a quarter of a way through so there is a lot of thought that has to go into this.”

Jonathan Kuminga, who was out of the rotation until Kerr inserted him in the third quarter, pumped in 13 points off the bench to rally them in the second half. Moses Moody continued his stellar play with 12 points off the bench.

Who’s Out?

On the flipside, Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson struggled anew. The veteran duo combined to hit just 6 of 25 shots.

“I’ve really been patient and hoping to get our starting unit from the last couple of years into a good groove,” Kerr said. “It’s easier to play and to coach when everybody knows exactly where they fit in. And role players, it’s easier to play a role when there is a set rotation and the stars are playing well so the puzzle fits.”

Their traditional starting lineup of Stephen Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney have been outscored by 25 points this season — a stark contrast from last season’s second-best plus-minus, outscoring their opponents by 145, per ESPN.

Curry is their only consistent starter from Day 1. Against the Trail Blazers, he dropped 31 points. Despite Curry’s MVP-caliber play, the Warriors are barely a play-in team in the loaded West.

In trying to extend Curry’s remaining championship window, Kerr is about to abandon their tradition and keep up with the changing times.

“Every night is going to be different with this team, that’s what I am figuring out,” Kerr said. “What we need each night seems to be different depending on the matchup, depending on how the game is going. It’s hard to predict what is going to happen each night, it’s also hard to play 10 to 11 guys. … We don’t have roster clarity in terms of who’s going to play every single night.”

Warriors Need to Adapt

Kerr has been left with no choice but to shake up his lineup following their struggles this season. After a rousing 6-2 start, they stumbled to a 4-9 record marred by Green’s suspension, key injuries and the shooting slumps of both Thompson and Wiggins.

“There have been situations this year, obviously lost some big leads because we haven’t been able to adapt quick enough in those kinds of games,” he said. “It’s the same thing with Coach’s decisions [that] he has to make on a night-to-night basis.”

The Warriors have blown three 20-point leads this season. And on Wednesday night, they barely beat one of the worst teams in the league this season.

Change is coming.