NBA New Rules Will Disturb Warriors Starting Lineup

NBA New Rules Will Disturb Warriors Starting Lineup

The implementation of new regulations will compel Steve Kerr to make a decision regarding the Warriors starting lineup. When the Golden State Warriors executed a surprising trade for Chris Paul, it raised the immediate question: Who would be in the starting lineup?

It seemed challenging to deviate from the established starting five of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and Kevon Looney. This quintet not only secured a championship in 2022 but also exhibited excellent synergy, with their diverse skill sets complementing each other effectively.

However, the idea of trading the immensely talented young player, Jordan Poole, only to relegate Paul to the bench, was difficult to fathom. Paul, a veteran who has started 1,363 games in his career, has never been in a reserve role. Moreover, Paul’s comments during Summer League, where he expressed his resistance to the idea of being a substitute, added complexity to the situation.

Initially, there was a belief that the Warriors might navigate this “dilemma” differently. As an aging team focused on load management, there was speculation that the Warriors might adopt a baseball-style approach with a six-player starting lineup, ensuring that one player was rested regularly. This strategy would allow everyone to experience starting games, potentially reduce tension, maintain player health, and enable Coach Steve Kerr to identify optimal lineups for the playoffs.

However, this option is no longer viable.

New rules are on the horizon, intended to curtail load management in the upcoming season. These rules will make it more challenging to rest players designated as “stars,” and will disturb the Warriors starting lineup a category that includes Curry, Paul, Green, and Wiggins (excluding Thompson). Consequently, the Warriors will need to utilize all their players extensively, barring injuries, necessitating a fixed starting lineup.

There is a valid argument for bringing Paul off the bench to lead the second unit. Another possibility is transitioning Wiggins or Thompson into a sixth-man role, although it’s highly unlikely for Klay Thompson.

However, the most probable scenario, in my view, involves Kevon Looney as the odd man out. Historically, the Warriors have enjoyed success with small lineups, and Paul complements this style effectively. He brings quality defense, shooting prowess, and playmaking ability, allowing complex off-ball movements for Curry and Thompson simultaneously. Despite his reduced athleticism, Paul remains a transition maestro, capable of quickening the pace of the game.

Although the Warriors starting lineup has typically avoided starting small lineups except in the playoffs to preserve Green’s energy, they will likely incorporate 8-16 minutes of Green at the center position in every game. Thus, it makes sense to have those minutes at the beginning of each half. This approach would enable the Warriors to commence games with their strongest lineup, potentially building a lead before substituting a guard or wing for Looney after 4-6 minutes.

Regardless of the direction Kerr chooses, the introduction of new rules will likely eliminate his luxury of avoiding the challenge of selecting a definitive starting lineup.


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