The Golden State Warriors' roster depth has created quite the question marks for Steve Kerr this season, with fans often left frustrated by the head coach's assortment of lineups and the general rotation.
That frustration has subsided somewhat amid the Warriors having won five of their last six games. With Draymond Green suspended and Gary Payton II still out through injury, Kerr has had no choice but to utilize the younger players more in a way many fans had been clamoring for.
Steve Kerr's refusal to play Jonathan Kuminga and Andrew Wiggins together is hurting both individuals and the Golden State Warriors as a whole
One lineup trend that continues be noteworthy is Kerr's refusal to play Jonathan Kuminga and Andrew Wiggins together in the same lineup. The pair have seen the floor together for a total of 106 minutes so far this season, ranked 45th among two-man combinations on the team.
Granted, the duo's presence on the court together has led to disastrous results for Golden State so far. They hold a net rating of -21.4 in the 106 minutes, with the offense particularly struggling with Kuminga and Wiggins on the floor.
Yet despite the poor results to date, it's a combination that should be used more frequently especially while Green remains suspended. The Christmas Day loss to the Denver Nuggets was the perfect opportunity to close with both Kuminga and Wiggins in the lineup -- they had each looked like the Warriors' best offensive threats in the second-half, not to mention the fact both are relied upon heavily on the defensive end.
Instead, as he has done for much of the season, Kerr only closed with one of the two. At this point, whoever is playing better gets the nod, and so it was Wiggins who was preferred thanks to his 22-point outing.
Kuminga and Wiggins actually played four minutes together in the six-point defeat on Christmas Day -- Golden State had a 17.9 net rating in that period. It felt like a game where the duo should have closed together in a lineup with Stephen Curry, one of Chris Paul, Klay Thompson or Brandin Podziemski, and either Kevon Looney or Trayce Jackson-Davis.
After the game, Kuminga was quite outspoken on the confusion around his role and general play with The Athletic's Marcus Thompson. It was a rightful mindset most fans would hold sympathy with, but one equally concerning with regard to how Kerr and the team will respond.
""But sometimes I've gotta take that away to make sure my OGs get the ball. That's where it's confusing. Sometimes, I come out the game not knowing what I did. And that messes with my head. It's like, 'What they want me to do?' I can pass and I can do different s**t," Kuminga said."
Despite now starting in place of Green, Kuminga is still averaging less than a minute more than he did last season. Part of that is Kerr pigeonholing he and Wiggins into the same role, limiting the malleability to play both when they each have it going.
Is it a floor spacing thing? It shouldn't be given each are shooting in excess of 41% from three-point range over their last 10 games. It probably comes down to Kerr always wanting multiple ball-handlers on the floor at one time. However, when both Wiggins and Kuminga are playing well, the defensive upgrade and individual scoring ability should override that factor.
Kerr has displayed some flexibility with rotations in recent times -- now in the hope for more size, athleticism and less three-guard lineups, Kuminga and Wiggins need to play together more going forward.
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