After a fourth-quarter collapse cost the Golden State Warriors a chance to seize an early lead in the NBA Finals, head coach Steve Kerr could be shifting around the lineup and giving the team’s youngest players a bigger role.
The Warriors went into the fourth quarter of Thursday’s Game 1 with a 12-point lead but watched it evaporate in the final six minutes as the Celtics went on a 17-0 run, winning 120-108. After the game there were hints that Kerr would be shifting around the rotation for Sunday’s Game 2, with one insider predicting that rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody could see expanded roles.
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Changing Role for Breakout Star, Opportunity for Rookies
Third-year guard Jordan Poole was a huge part of Golden State’s success this season and has been a key scoring threat in the playoffs, averaging 17.8 points with 4.4 assists and 3.1 rebounds through the playoffs. But the 22-year-old struggled in Game 1 on June 2, making just two of his seven shots including 1-for-5 behind the three-point arc. The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami predicted that Poole will see a decrease in minutes as Curry’s minutes push upward, and that Kerr could bench a pair of more defensive-minded veterans to give Poole more weapons on the floor.
That could mean a golden opportunity for Moody and Kuminga, he wrote.
Jayson Tatum when guarded by Jonathan Kuminga during the regular season:
(2 games played) pic.twitter.com/UwPcWf05ah
— KumingaMuse (@KumingaMuse) May 30, 2022
“It’s up to Poole to change the storyline,” Kawakami wrote. ” He has to be more decisive. Can’t dribble into traffic now that he knows he’s not finishing over or around Robert Williams or Al Horford. Maybe he shouldn’t dribble at all near Marcus Smart. And Kerr can also give Poole more offensive help in the second unit by adding either Moses Moody or Jonathan Kuminga and taking out Andre Iguodala or Draymond Green.”
Moody, Kuminga Could Play Bigger Roles
Both Kuminga and Moody have been used sparingly in the playoffs as Kerr shortened the rotation. Kuminga has averaged 9.3 points in 16.9 minutes per game, while Moody is averaging 3.9 points in 9.5 minutes per game. Though Moody was further down Kerr’s rotation than Kuminga during the regular season, he was called on to play a …read more