“We basically have six starters, the way I look at it,” said Kerr, whose club added future Hall of Fame floor general Chris Paul to a group that already included two-time MVP Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney.
Paul, during his first media availability with the Warriors, seemed to bristle a bit at the suggestion that he would be relegated to the bench upon joining the team. When asked how he could envision fitting alongside Golden State’s reserves, Paul responded, “You coaching? I don’t know what the situation’s gonna be yet. So that’ll be for us to figure out once we get going. It’ll be a conversation for us once camp starts.”
In his 18 NBA seasons, Paul has never entered a game as a reserve—holding the league record for most consecutive starts to begin a career. He may be a step slower at 38, but starting over coming off the bench is almost certainly an ongoing point of pride.
At the same time, this is a starting five that not only won an NBA title in 2022, but also one that last season had the league’s best net rating by far, blowing out opponents by nearly 22 points per 100 possessions. So there is a clear risk in breaking up that group long term just to placate Paul, who might be better off seeing reduced minutes, anyway, if only to save his aging legs.
“Only five can go each night. I haven’t decided yet what we’re gonna do. I wanna see in training camp and take a look. Obviously all six guys are gonna play a lot of minutes for us, but if this is gonna work, then everyone has to embrace it regardless of who’s starting and who’s not,” Kerr said Monday. “It only works if the whole team buys in, and I know these guys will. I know five of them really well, and I’m getting to know Chris. One thing I know about all of them is that they want to win more than anything. They’re an incredibly competitive group.”
If the goal is to be as competitive as possible—and for Paul to win his first title—feelings might eventually need to be taken out of the equation. The Warriors have a blueprint that works, and, while there’s nothing wrong with experimenting some in preseason, they shouldn’t veer too far from their tried-and-true strategy, even with a Hall of Famer joining the fray.