Steve Kerr makes critical shift to Golden State Warriors rotation in win over Raptors

Golden State Warriors v Toronto Raptors
Golden State Warriors v Toronto Raptors / Cole Burston/GettyImages

The Golden State Warriors continued their winning form on Friday, overcoming interrupted travel to claim a 120-105 victory against the Toronto Raptors on the second night of a back-to-back.

Rightfully tired and fatigued after not getting to sleep until 8am Friday morning, the Warriors found their energy in the second-half to obliterate a Raptors outfit who lost franchise star Scottie Barnes to a hand injury in the second-quarter. But within their dominant 59-41 second-half, a key rotation shift from Steve Kerr that fans have long been waiting to see.

Trayce Jackson-Davis saw the primary backup center minutes for the Golden State Warriors in the second-half against the Toronto Raptors

Since Draymond Green's move to the permanent starting five, Kerr had settled on a fairly set rotation regarding the center minutes. Kevon Looney usually replaces Green halfway through the first and third periods, while Dario Saric and Trayce Jackson-Davis usually play together to start the second and fourth quarters.

On Friday Kerr prioritized his rookie big man, with Jackson-Davis becoming the first big off the bench in the second-half. Looney then took the minutes to start the fourth, before Jackson-Davis returned to play alongside Green for a stretch late in the game.

That meant no Saric at all in the second-half, a move that had been some time in the making given the Croatian's dwindling form in recent weeks. The 29-year-old had two points, two assists, a turnover and was -2 in just under six first-half minutes, with his form not improving despite the return of veteran point-guard Chris Paul.

Saric's defensive limitations has become a pressing issue for fans, and the Warriors' defensive capacity was evidently better with Jackson-Davis seeing more minutes in the second-half.

The 24-year-old took his opportunity, recording nine points and three rebounds in just over 10 second-half minutes. Jackson-Davis was a +10 in those minutes, with Golden State limiting Toronto to 41 second-half points after 64 in the first.

Utilizing all three of Jackson-Davis, Looney and Saric each for limited minutes has become an unsustainable approach, and perhaps this was the first sign of Kerr eliminating one from the rotation completely going forward.

The importance of that has become magnified with Moses Moody's impressive form since returning to the rotation. Once Andrew Wiggins returns, Moody simply must get minutes over Saric which will only further squeeze the seven-year veteran out of the rotation mix.