Steve Kerr hints at rotation changes after Warriors loss to Magic

Steve Kerr hints at rotation changes after Warriors loss to Magic

Looking at Thursday night’s box score, Warriors loss 130-129 for the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center was the same as their previous three losses. Indeed, it was the same as most of their nine games this season.

Led by Klay Thompson’s plus-13, all five Warriors starters finished with a positive plus-minus. Kevon Looney was plus-10, Draymond Green was plus-5, Steph Curry was plus-4 and Andrew Wiggins was plus-3.

Ty Jerome, who came through the league and was signed to a two-way contract late in the preseason, was the only Warriors bench player with a positive plus-minus. He was plus-3. James Wiseman and Moses Moody were minus-9. Jordan Poole was minus-10 and JaMychal Green was a team-low minus-15.

From the eye test to the numbers, the Warriors’ decline from starters to their bench has been staggering. Starting Friday against the Pelicans in New Orleans, changes could come. Warriors coach Steve Kerr certainly didn’t shy away from that after the Warriors’ latest loss.

“We’re going to have to make some adjustments, make some changes,” Kerr told reporters. “We’ve had nine games so far. We’ve had a decent look at combinations, so it’s time to try something different.”

What exactly does that mean?

“Oh, everybody’s going to get a chance to play,” Kerr said. “We’ve got guys dying to get on the floor. We’ve got to find combinations that click. We’ll talk about that as a staff and we’ll figure it out.”

A player who should be frothing at the mouth at any time on the court is the Warriors’ top draft pick a year ago. Jonathan Kuminga was DNP (did not play) again in the loss, his second straight and third of the season.

Kuminga played 13 minutes in the Warriors’ season opener. He then played seven-plus minutes in each of the next two games before seeing 15 minutes of action in a loss to the Phoenix Suns — one in which he was the lone Warrior who sat the entire first half. Kerr has to keep repeating that the development of a player, especially one as young as 20 years old, does not happen overnight.

He reiterated that during his pregame media session and said after the loss that the Warriors are looking at Kuminga, James Wiseman and Moses Moody “in a big way.” But as Wiseman continues to struggle in many ways, Kuminga isn’t getting the same kind of leash as the former No. 2. Kerr has said he wants to see something else from Kuminga in practice, and he hasn’t really flashed it in games so far this season.

If the Warriors are going to continue to experiment early, the player who could one day have the most power has to be a part of the project as well.

When asked how much the Warriors’ young players were to blame, Draymond first tried to keep the pressure on the Cubs, before turning to motivational tactics in a unifying way. These losses are on everyone. Young people also need to step up. The margin for error is currently small, especially with such a lack of experience.

“I’m not going to sit here and point fingers or point at our young guys. It doesn’t matter how we roll,” Green said. “They’ve got to learn, they’ve got to understand that. So yeah, actually, it’s kind of their fault. It’s definitely some of our young guys’ fault. But it’s my fault and Steph’s fault and something for Klay’s fault, we’re all we blame.

“We’re not playing at the level we need to win games… I changed the tone of my answer. Yes, it’s the young guys’ fault. But it is no more theirs than ours. ”

Jordan Poole was the youngster who made the jump last season, turning into a star and earning a huge contract extension. He was also able to play through struggles and losses early in his career on non-championship teams. Wiseman, Kuminga, Moody and starters Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins don’t have that luxury.

The Big Dream of Joe Lacob and Co. o two timelines is currently being tested in huge ways as the 34-year-old Curry puts on a show and looks to be worth nothing less than a blank check. Perhaps Kuminga will take advantage of his opportunity already on Friday night. Maybe Wiseman will use that as motivation and start playing with the anger he showed when he got a technical foul against the Magic. Perhaps Poole plays less passively on offense and quickly looks like the comfortable offensive force he was a season ago. And maybe Baldwin makes his debut and wows us all.

RELATED: Kerr admits Dubs struggles look like ‘championship hangover’

The Warriors allowed 43 points to the Magic in the third quarter. They lost a game in which they took 19 more shots than their opponents. Their opponent also attempted 31 more free throws than them and took 23 more shots from the charity stripe. Thursday night’s 46-15 free throw margin was the Warriors’ largest deficit at the line since 2013.

Golden State is still winless on the road. The Warriors have lost four straight games to teams that went 11-25 overall, and two of those teams had one win when they faced the defending champions. At 3-6 on the season, this is foreign territory.

Last season, the Warriors didn’t lose their sixth game until Dec. 18, the 30th game of the year.

“We’re used to learning while we’re winning,” Curry said. “You find ways to dig it out even if you don’t have it, or build chemistry or whatever it is. We haven’t been in this position in a while to realize you’ve got to play better and you’re” It’s just not a good feeling, all around.

“… Everybody in that locker room has to understand that. That’s what the job requires. We understand that. It’s just hard to come out right now, keep fighting hard, realize that our energy and effort is there and you’re not having any results to show for it.”

Changes are coming. Results remain a waiting game.

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