Various rotation moves are always of early interest in an NBA season, and that should be no exception when looking at the Golden State Warriors opener against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
Some elements should be taken with a grain of salt, particularly given Stephen Curry and Jonathan Kuminga dealt with foul trouble throughout the contest. Still, there were a couple of decisions from Steve Kerr that should have left fans puzzled.
Cory Joseph’s debut for the Golden State Warriors was ill-timed, while Moses Moody’s lack of playing time in the second-half was also questionable.
There were plenty of aspects that hurt Golden State in the 108-104 loss, but chief among them was a disastrous 31-11 run for the Suns across the final 7:30 of the second-quarter. Part of that included the first minutes for free agency acquisition Cory Joseph, with the veteran point-guard a -12 in his three minutes and 42 seconds.
While it’s easy to say in hindsight, it was an unnecessary stretch of time that should have gone elsewhere. It was almost as if Kerr wanted to prioritize giving Joseph a taste of the action, rather than necessarily focusing on the potential impact.
Joseph didn’t play at all in the second-half, perhaps somewhat surprisingly given Curry missed a significant stretch due to foul trouble. Kerr had seen enough in the brief first-half period, leaning on Chris Paul who played over 34 minutes.
Perhaps not as egregious but still puzzling, third-year wing Moses Moody played just six minutes in the second-half after being arguably the Warriors best player across the first 24 minutes.
Moody was everywhere in his first 12 minutes, scoring 11 points on 4-5 shooting including 2-3 from three-point range. But for as impressive as his offense was, it was the 21-year-old’s defense that equally stood out with three steals and a block.
Yet the standout first-half wasn’t rewarded so much in the second, with Kerr preferring the experience of Klay Thompson. Despite the 33-year-old’s solid defense on former Warrior Kevin Durant, at least a few of Thompson’s 36 minutes should have been chewed up by the improving Moody.
The Golden State rotation isn’t set in stone until Draymond Green returns, leaving Kerr to mix-and-match lineups to find the right combinations. That will leave fans undoubtedly frustrated at some decisions, particularly in games like Tuesday night where the Warriors could have easily claimed victory.