Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has watched his All-Star starters drop like flies in the span of one awful week. First Stephen Curry, who couldn’t survive a relentless torment of ankle injuries, then his next two best scorers in Klay Thompson (fractured right thumb) and Kevin Durant (rib cartilage fracture), only to soon be joined by the reigning Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green with a groin injury.
Yet despite being forced to put together another starting lineup out of scratch, the fourth-year coach isn’t pressing the panic button, rather using this series of events as an opportunity to test his players’ mettle in ways other teams racing for a playoff spot couldn’t pull off.
“I didn’t expect this. Up until a week or two ago, that’s what I expected — players to miss a game here and there,” said Kerr, according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. “Especially our key guys, our core guys, KD, Steph, Draymond. But this is just out of the ordinary, everybody getting hurt at once. But it’s part of it. You just have to be ready for anything.”
This rare chain of events has opened up opportunities for several bench players like Nick Young, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, and most significantly two-way standout Quinn Cook, who has taken over the starting point guard spot in light of the slew of injuries.
“Sometimes, it’s good to get out of your little box, whatever you kind of box yourself in as as a player, a lot of guys do that,” said Kerr. “Times like these, it’s like, for example, Quinn Cook has to change the mentality of, ‘I’m a two-way guy. I got to move the ball on, take an open shot, to suddenly, I’m going to score the most points on the team.’ And you can literally see a switch that’s flipped. And the confidence gains as a result.”
Cook has been a relative steal of a deal for the Warriors — a lauded sharpshooter coming out of Duke University and now getting the opportunity to shine a year after leading the G League in scoring for the Cleveland Cavaliers affiliate Canton Charge.