Before the Golden State Warriors took the floor against the Boston Celtics, Steve Kerr announced that Jordan Poole would be plugged into starting lineup, replacing Kevon Looney. After their loss, it looks like Poole will be the starting indefinitely.
Steve Kerr details the thought process behind the change to the starting lineup pic.twitter.com/uld2NKUNJr— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 20, 2023
Is this the spark the Warriors need? I'm not so sold. Golden State is already one, if not, the smallest teams in the entire NBA. Looney has started every game at center this year for the Warriors. Standing at 6 feet, 9 inches, he has been one of the Warriors best defenders, rebounders, and overall consistent players. He's averaging a career high 8.5 rebounds and is 3rd in the NBA in assist/turnover ratio. Sliding him to bench puts immense pressure on Draymond Green at the five--who's just 6'6". Green already does so much for the Warriors defensively. Now without Looney, they're asking him to do pretty much everything, including rebound, and facilitate the offense. There's a good possibility that if the Warriors stick with Green at center for the remained of the season, the 32-year-old could be extremely fatigued by the time playoffs roll around.
The Celtics absolutely dominated the glass last night, grabbing 63 total rebounds compared to 47 for the Dubs. Boston was also able to reel in 18 offensive rebounds.
The 36-year-old, Al Horford looked like he was 10 years younger in that first quarter, scoring 10 points. This year, he's averaging a career low 9.8 points per game. That just cannot happen. You can't let a player score their entire average in half a quarter, and if Looney was the court, starting those first six minutes, there's a good chance that wouldn't have happened.
These clips show how Horford was just too physical for the Warriors small-ball lineup:
Al Horford is still giving 100% effort, even in the regular season. 36 years old. True veteran.— mr.perfect (@emswym) January 20, 2023
Al Horford already has 8 points in the first quarter against the Warriors pic.twitter.com/B1dwQO33R5— BetMGM (@BetMGM) January 20, 2023
When Looney is in the five-man lineup alongside Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, and Green, Golden State averages 127 points per 100 possessions, and give up 107.4 per/100. Without question, one of the best five man lineups across the board. The numbers when you replace Looney with Poole tell an entirely different story. With Poole, the Warriors score 121.3 points per/100, while allowing 114.6 per/100. The numbers show that the Warriors are simply a better team with Looney on the floor.
The Warriors second unit is already limited when it comes to scoring options. Why take away your only real volume scorer? What "spark" does Kerr hope to ignite? That remains to be seen.
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