Warriors starting power forward: Draymond Green
Klay Thompson will start at power forward on Opening Night with Draymond Green still out nursing a sprained ankle, but our prediction is that he will rejoin the starting lineup once he is fully healthy. This is an important season for Green, as his impact has waxed and waned over the past couple of seasons. Is he still one of the top defenders in the league? How does his offensive role need to adapt when sharing the court with Chris Paul?
It’s possible that the lineup with Paul starting plays so well that Green comes off the bench, at least for a stretch. That group would lack the defensive versatility and size needed to be dominant on that end, and it’s unlikely it would make up for that with truly elite offense. The best version of the Warriors almost certainly involves Green starting.
Warriors backup power forward: Jonathan Kuminga
The real reason Green may not be starting by the end of the season is not Chris Paul, but rather Jonathan Kuminga. The third-year player had a dominant preseason, averaging 21.8 points per game and showing off a smooth three-point stroke. He’s already an impactful defender, and the coaching staff has given him the green light to chase offensive rebounds.
Kuminga may be finally bringing it all together. If so, he will force himself not only into the rotation but into the calculus for the closing lineup as well. They don’t have a player with Kuminga’s explosion elsewhere on the roster, and the threat of Kuminga rolling to the rim with Curry on the perimeter should terrorize defenses. How Kerr manages lineups will be interesting to watch as the season unfolds.
Other options: Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Dario Saric