The Golden State Warriors are looking to employ a tactical advantage in Game 4 against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night. As it turns out, Dubs head coach Steve Kerr has decided to turn to Gary Payton II as a late addition to the starting five ahead of what is a must-win game for the defending champs.
Payton has now been inserted into the starting lineup for Monday's contest, with Kevon Looney being relegated to the bench yet again. This is after Looney was replaced by JaMychal Green in the starting five for Game 3, so technically speaking, GP2 is taking Green's spot for Game 4.
Steve Kerr had nothing but high praise for Payton as he shed light on the decision to give the veteran guard the nod to start on Monday night:
“He’s a very unique player. Obviously an excellent defender,” Kerr said, via Lakers beat reporter Michael Corvo of ClutchPoints. “… He plays more like a big than a guard, but he moves like a guard and finishes well. He can knock down the three… He has big game experience too. We trust him.”
“He’s a very unique player. Obviously an excellent defender… He plays more like a big than a guard, but he moves like a guard and finishes well. He can knock down the three… He has big game experience too. We trust him.”
Steve Kerr on Gary Payton II.
(via @michaelcorvoNBA) pic.twitter.com/Fm15Dis0zs
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 9, 2023
Despite joining the Warriors as a mid-season addition this year, Payton has spent many years with Golden State prior to his offseason move to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Warriors obviously hold Payton in high regard, and the fact that they traded to get him back in their lineup earlier this season is a clear testament to this fact.
As he said, Steve Kerr has a lot of trust in Gary Payton, and he's hoping that the 30-year-old guard serves as the x-factor that leads Golden State to a much-needed victory in Game 4.