The Golden State Warriors‘ offensive struggles continued on Tuesday, scoring just 90 points in a surprising loss to a young Orlando Magic outfit.
Aside from an exciting third quarter burst lit by Jordan Poole’s tenth straight 20 point game, the Warriors again felt the full force of Stephen Curry’s absence.
The Golden State Warriors shot just 40% from the field and committed 18 turnovers, falling 94-90 in an error-filled display at Amway Center.
After a second consecutive dour first quarter, NBC’s Monte Poole suggested the Warriors should make a major line-up change to help combat their early struggles.
"“But it’s time for coach Steve Kerr and his staff to consider a different lineup, one in which Looney is replaced by Otto Porter Jr.With Stephen Curry restricted to the sideline, the Warriors have encountered a problem that won’t be solved with Looney in the starting lineup. They’re spending much of the first quarter scrounging for points.”"
Poole makes a valid point that threatens to continue while their two-time MVP remains sidelined. Sure, the combination of Green and Looney worked at the beginning of the season, a time when Golden State was arguably the best team in the league. But that was on the premise of Curry’s unmatched spacing and with Andrew Wiggins shooting over 40% from three.
But while Looney is very much a role player in the Warriors system, any such move would risk further instability to a team already teetering on the edge of an unfulfilled campaign. After a spate of injury-plagued seasons, the seven-year big man is just one of six players league-wide to have started in every game this season.
Switching Looney for Porter Jr. may not hurt rebounding-wise (the latter has posted at least 14 rebounds in each of the last two games), but it would place greater interior pressure on the recently returned Draymond Green.
The Warriors would also lose an off-ball screening presence that can’t be underestimated in Steve Kerr’s system. Again, much of that is predicated on Curry’s brilliance and historic three-point shooting prowess.
Perhaps the whole situation just reinforces that Curry is the system and that running certain plays or lineups without him will fail more often than not.
Even if it’s just in Curry’s absence, maybe a lineup and game style change is needed to prevent the Warriors from slipping further as the playoffs near closer.