Did Kerr's Curry decision provide hint to Warriors' future perspective?

Golden State Warriors v Washington Wizards
Golden State Warriors v Washington Wizards / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The Golden State Warriors suffered another close loss in Minnesota on Sunday, with one major aspect -- Stephen Curry's minutes -- causing quite the debate during the fouth-quarter and into the postgame.

Curry played less than 30 minutes against the Timberwolves as the Warriors suffered a 114-110 defeat. The pivotal period came in nine non-Curry minutes in the second-half, with Minnesota outscoring Golden State by 12 to build an eight-point lead when the two-time MVP returned over five minutes into the final period.

Did Steve Kerr's decision on Stephen Curry emanate from the Golden State Warriors already having one eye on next season?

Many fans were left fuming at Kerr's decision to limit Curry's minutes, having averaged nearly 33 this season and almost 35 in 2022-23. The 36-year-old still had a game-high 31 points, but his team was a -10 with him on the bench.

When asked during the postgame, Kerr balked at suggestions that the result of the game could have been different had he brought Curry back into the game earlier.

"If you want to say (Steph Curry) playing 30 or 32 minutes was the difference in a win or a loss, I totally disagree."

Steve Kerr

That doesn't seem right. The Warriors are almost assuredly going to be a better team with Curry on the floor, so inevitably they should have more chance of winning if he's out there more. Of course, there's diminishing returns if you overload a player to the point where he can no longer be at his best, but fans were yearning for Curry to play at least his usual average minutes, not 40+ like other league coaches have a tendency to do with their players.

Golden State should be in panic mode -- they're about to fall out of the Play-In Tournament entirely if things don't turn around. If the franchise is set on still trying to make a deep playoff run, there's no reason for Curry to play less than 30 minutes in what can nearly be considered as must-win games.

What if the decision stems from one eye already turning toward next season? Kerr nor anyone at the franchise would ever say it publicly, but with the Warriors stumbling badly and with little hope of reaching their ultimate aim, why not shave Curry's minutes back in preparation for next season?

As much as it would be an embarrassing acceptance of their disappointing season, perhaps that's a notion fans would be okay with. What they shouldn't be okay with is Kerr's quote, because the difference between Curry playing 30-32 minutes in what was essentially a one possession game could absolutely be a difference-making factor.