Golden State Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr is hesitant to give away anything in regard to his potential starting five for next season, with the addition of 12-time All-Star Chris Paul throwing a curveball into an otherwise successful opening unit.
The five-man group of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney recorded a net rating of 21.9 in 331 regular season minutes together in 2022-23. For context, of the 30 other lineups to have played at least 250 minutes together, no unit had a net rating above 14.7.
Steve Kerr is happy to let training camp dictate his decision making on the Golden State Warriors’ opening five to begin next season.
While it’s hard to argue against the starting unit’s numbers from last season, it’s equally difficult to disregard Paul’s hall-of-fame résumé as one of the best handful of point-guards in NBA history. The 18-year veteran has never once come off the bench throughout his professional career, leaving a sizeable verdict to be made for the four-time championship-winning coach.
Speaking to ESPN as he prepares to coach Team USA in the FIBA World Cup, Kerr was far from committal in his early expectation for Golden State’s starting five come opening night.
"“I think that’ll be a case where you get three weeks of training camp before that first game”, Kerr said. “We’ll just look at all kinds of different combinations…”The main thing is we know all those guys are going to play a lot of minutes.”"
It’s not overly surprising that Kerr is leaving the door ajar — it breeds competitiveness in training camp and helps manage personalities until the point he really has to make the tough call. Paul, in particular, has already sent mixed public signals on the prospects of coming off the bench.
Kerr’s comment, “we’ll just look at all kinds of different combinations”, is quite provocative though when it’s safely assumed that four starters — Curry, Thompson, Wiggins and Green — are firmly locked into place.
When it comes to the final decision, anything other than Looney as the fifth starter should come as a major shock. Paul will start a few games at different points, but going incredibly small with three guards and a 6’6″ center is blatantly unsustainable throughout the course of an entire season.
While Kerr’s public comments may suggest different, there’s little doubt he has a fair idea of what the starting makeup will look like. For the moment he has more pressing needs, and can therefore quite rightfully kick Warrior issues further down the field for a later time.