The Golden State Warriors will be heading into the NBA Finals undermanned, as All-Star forward Kevin Durant and big man DeMarcus Cousins aren't expected to return for the series opener. However, head coach Steve Kerr is already prepared for all the possibilities, and he expects all the members of the team to be ready too.
There is a possibility that Kerr will be employing a different starting lineup in the Finals. In his interview with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, the veteran coach said he's willing to explore several options in terms of his starters — particularly in the center spot that has already seen a number of changes since the injury to Cousins.
“I think there’s some value in that,” Kerr said on throwing surprise starters in games.
“And I think because we have the players that we do in the starting lineup, it allows us to be a little more creative and flexible. Because you’re putting a guy in to start with a bunch of All-Stars, especially if Kevin (Durant) is out there. Basically four All-Stars. So you have a cushion. You have a safety net for the fifth guy that you’re putting out there.”
Of course, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala are surefire starters, meaning that the fifth spot is up for grabs until Durant and Cousins return. Kerr has already started guys like Andrew Bogut, Jordan Bell, Damian Jones and Kevon Looney in the past, and he will likely explore that option again.
“I guess I like the message it sends to the whole group; stay ready, your chance is coming. I always tell the group that. So it’s proof to the guys that I’m not kidding.”
The Warriors are stacked with talent, but they value their role players as much as their starters, and that's one of the reasons why they have been successful over the last five years.