Golden State Warriors have found their best unit, so should it become the starting lineup?

Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors
Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The Golden State Warriors' struggles have been reflected in their rotation questions this season, with Steve Kerr unable to find an efficient and consistent five-man unit that can be considered the team's best lineup.

While the Warriors lost again in heartbreaking fashion on Thursday night against the Sacramento Kings, there were plenty of positives for the franchise to take with them moving forward. Perhaps the biggest was the affirmation of a group that could now be regarded as Golden State's go-to lineup.

The Golden State Warriors may have found their best lineup in recent games, but it doesn't mean it will become their starting five

Kerr closed Thursday's game with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and Draymond Green, a unit that's proven effective since the latter returned from suspension three games ago.

In 14 minutes over the last three games, that lineup holds a +8.9 net rating. They've been particularly elite defensively during that period, holding an 84.8 defensive rating. That number is even more astounding given the Warriors' 127.1 defensive rating over the last 10 games has been easily the worst in the league.

Despite the limited sample size, the combination has proven noteworthy enough for Curry to be asked about it in Thursday's post-game.

"It's been helpful to have certain looks that we've been going to and developing a chemistry there. That's our challenge to continue to self-assess and everybody be aggressive regardless of who's out there."

Stephen Curry

The key to the lineup comes in the way of Green, with the veteran's return seeming to unlock the much discussed combination of Wiggins and Kuminga. That pair had previously been awful to the point of being near on unplayable together, yet Green's addition has brought the playmaking element other Wiggins-Kuminga lineups often lacked, not to mention the fortification of a versatile defensive frontcourt.

Golden State are still a poor -13.4 in net rating over 210 minutes with both Wiggins and Kuminga on the floor. However, add Green to the mix and that shifts to +20.6 in 59 minutes with that trio playing together.

Kuminga had a career-high 31 points against the Kings and was a game-high +16, while Green added 11 assists off the bench and was a +14. In contrast, the starting pair of Dario Saric and Kevon Looney were each a game-low -15.

Is it as simple as saying that Green and Kuminga should replace Saric and Looney in the starting lineup? Perhaps not given Kuminga is in the best form of his career, with five consecutive 20-point games all coming as a reserve.

Green should return to the starting lineup at the very least, probably in place of Looney who played just over 16 minutes against the Kings. It does put extra pressure on the former Defensive Player of the Year, but the lengthy suspensions mean there's not the wear-and-tear on Green's body that may have otherwise been accumulated by this point of the season.

As if often the saying, it's not about who starts but who closes. The Warriors may have just found their best lineup, so can it form the consistency needed for the franchise to rejuvenate their stumbling season?