OAKLAND — The experimentation phase of the new-look Golden State Warriors’ season is officially over.
With 26 regular-season games remaining, head coach Steve Kerr feels confident with how he’ll pair his players.
“We’re still trying to get better but I don’t anticipate moving pieces around much, I kind of like our rotation right now,” Kerr said after practice Wednesday.
The Dubs have been without David West and Zaza Pachulia for nearly a month, making Kerr and the reserves more secure with what they have as the veterans’ absence allowed playing time for younger big men. The trial period allowed James Michael McAdoo and Kevon Looney to show what roles they can fill as games gain more importance.
And it also proved the importance of JaVale McGee to this team. With Pachulia and West likely to return tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers, Kerr doesn’t expect McGee to lose too much playing time as the two longtime bigs work back into game-shape.
“JaVale has helped us dramatically, and he’ll be playing a role,” Kerr said. “It’s a center by committee situation but right away, we’ll see how we play it.”
While most of the team enjoyed a week away from basketball — except for the four All-Stars who had Wednesday off — West and Pachulia came into the facility to get treatment, working toward a return to the floor.
Shaun Livingston called their injuries a “blessing” for the younger players and for the team as the trade deadline and buy-out season approaches. Because, as they proved over the last month, the Dubs won’t need to be aggressive to add another player.
“We don’t have to go out and find pieces to replace David and Zaza,” Livingston said. “We have those pieces here.”
Shaun Livingston didn’t have a restful All-Star break; he had a daughter.
The 6-foot-9 point guard welcomed Tyler Marie to the world last week.
“It was a great, great feeling, but not a lot of sleep,” he said.
He added that she has his eyes, and that he’s going from S-Dot, his nickname, to “Papa Dot.”
And, he’s a natural father as he seamlessly laid out a dad-joke when asked about the New Orleans Pelicans, which are now equipped with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
“Obviously a big challenge — literally, those guys are huge,” he said.
KERR OVERPLAYS BOOGIE
Steve Kerr explains why he only played DeMarcus Cousins 2 minutes in the All-Star game. Said it wasn’t trade related, just a Cousins request pic.twitter.com/H0dWmvMgMl
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 22, 2017
DeMarcus Cousins played fewer than three minutes in the All-Star Game, leading to speculation that he was being traded, which he ultimately was. But that was purely coincidental, according to Steve Kerr, the coach of the Western Conference All Stars.
Cousins told him a day before the game that he wanted to play just two minutes.
“[Assistant coach] Mike [Brown] and I had drawn up a minutes plan, I said I’ve got you slotted for two minutes in each half. [Cousins] said, ‘no, no, no, two minutes total,’” Kerr recalled.
After Cousins played and came out, Kerr went to him with the stat sheet during a timeout. “I said, ‘DeMarcus, you played 2 minutes and 24 seconds.’ He goes, ‘I went over by 24 seconds? That should be a fine for you, coach.’”