Golden State Warriors have found effective frontcourt in Andrew Wiggins’ absence

A host of absences has forced head coach Steve Kerr to try a range of various lineups for the Golden State Warriors this season. Not all of them have proved effective, with fans regularly being critical across the team’s underwhelming 38-36 season to date.

More recently, the defending champions have been without starting small forward and 2021 All-Star, Andrew Wiggins, for the last 17 games as he deals with personal issues. While Donte DiVincenzo has started in his place, Steve Kerr has found an even more effective frontcourt combination.

The frontcourt combination of Anthony Lamb, Jonathan Kuminga and Draymond Green has been one of the Golden State Warriors’ best three-man lineups this season.

Draymond Green, Anthony Lamb and Jonathan Kuminga have little in common when it comes to their current stature in the NBA. Green is a 33-year-old four-time champion, Lamb has only just been converted from a two-way contract as he battles to find a spot in the league, and Kuminga is starting to thrive in his second season as a highly touted top ten pick.

Yet the trio are proving incredibly productive together this season, albeit in limited minutes. On Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks, they played just two minutes together but had a net rating of 116.7 in that brief period — perhaps it’s a sign Kerr should utilize them more.

Jonathan Kuminga had a team-high 22 points for the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

The trio have played 104 minutes together this season, holding a 131 offensive rating, 95.5 defensive rating, and 35.5 net rating overall. In the Warriors’ last 15 games, all without Wiggins, they’ve had a 153.3 offensive rating and 95.3 defensive rating for a net rating of 58. To put that into context, the next best three-man lineup in this period is Green, Lamb and Stephen Curry with a net rating of 46.5.

The key is that they’re all versatile on both ends of the floor, but also specialize in their own important facet. Green is the defensive star, one of the best to do it in NBA history. Lamb is the reliable three-point shooter, having shot 37.8% from deep on 3.5 attempts per game. Kuminga is the ultra-explosive athlete, allowing him to bring the rim pressure Golden State have so desperately craved.

There’s no reason the trio shouldn’t be playing even more together in Wiggins’ absence, particularly while Kuminga knocks down shots from deep at nearly 50% (which he’s done over the last 15 games). Even if you remove Green from the discussion (because his greatness allows him to play effectively in most lineups), then at the very least Kuminga and Lamb should be playing together frequently.

In 111 minutes together over the last 15 games, Kuminga and Lamb have a net rating of 14.3 when on the floor together. Given Golden State’s bench unit still ranks 23rd in the league this season, they’re numbers that simply cannot be ignored.