Ranking all 6 potential Warriors starting lineups from gross to gold

Chris Paul and Stephen Curry talk during last season's Christmas game Golden State won in Phoenix.Chris Paul Curry 1 2
Chris Paul and Stephen Curry talk during last season's Christmas game Golden State won in Phoenix.Chris Paul Curry 1 2 /
6 of 6
Golden State Warriors, Chris Paul
Golden State Warriors, Chris Paul, Paul George. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Lineup No. 1: Bench Chris Paul

Starters: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney

Last season, 98 5-man lineups logged at least 100 minutes together. Teams like the Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers fill out the Top 10. The Denver Nuggets’ starting lineup dominated over a shockingly large sample. At the top of the list, however? It’s the starting lineup for the Golden State Warriors.

The tried-and-true grouping of Curry, Klay, Wiggs, Dray and Loon was the best in the league, outscoring opponents by 21.9 points per 100 possessions in 331 total minutes. That group played in just 27 games due to Wiggins’ absence and the others’ injuries, but when it played, it dominated. It wasn’t simply in the regular season, either; that lineup had a +20.9 net rating in 82 playoff minutes as well.

Why break up one of the best lineups in the NBA? Because you are adding a future Hall of Famer at point-guard, a player who hasn’t come off the bench in 1,214 career games. Not once. Paul has always been a starter, and he has earned that distinction; He is a 12-time All-Star, 11-time All-NBA player, nine-time All-Defensive selection and is third all-time in both assists and steals. Five times he led the league in assists, and another six times led the league in steals.

That’s a hard resume to push onto the bench. Paul may be 38-years-old and frequently dealing with injuries, but he is still a positive contributor and has a lot to offer the Warriors. He clearly would prefer to start; can the Warriors afford not to let a player like that start?

The answer is yes. Not only is their current starting lineup so dominant, but Paul is a clear fit with the second unit. He can give that group direction and orchestrate a nasty pick-and-roll game with Jonathan Kuminga rolling to the rim and players like Moses Moody, Dario Saric and a starter like Wiggins or Thompson spacing the court. Not starting also limits the wear and tear on Paul’s body, keeping his minutes low and increasing his chances of being healthy for the playoffs.

Next. 12 Golden State Warriors that never played a single minute. dark

Injuries will dictate a number of different starting lineups during the course of the season, and Paul may well begin the season in the starting lineup due to Green’s ankle injury. When everyone is healthy, however, the best version of the Warriors will see Paul coming off the bench.