Steve Kerr’s two-way trust exposes hole in Warriors’ two-timeline plan

SAN FRANCISCO – Having two two-legged Warriors that can be counted on by Steve Kerr is definitely a plus. Being trusted veterans of a struggling second unit can also be a problem.

Anthony Lamb who started against the New Orleans Pelicans last Friday was a bit of a surprise, but was understandable as superstars Steve Curry, Clay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins sat on the second night of a back-to-back ride to finish a road trip. The Warriors played five matches in seven days. Lamb progressed impressively, playing 37 minutes and scoring 16 points while making four three-pointers and passing three hits.

Even more surprising was the fact that Kerr’s alternation of the new look showed Lamb was one of the first players to leave the bench, along with Sixth Man Jordan Poole, three nights ago in Monday’s win against the Sacramento Kings. Lamb and teammate T. Jerome, the two-decade player, were given minutes in the first quarter. James Wiseman, seeded number two in the previous overall standings, and former No. 14 pick Moses Moody had sat for the entire quarter.

Wiseman earned his first (not played) DNP of the season. Moody scored his first entry in the middle of the second quarter, and ended up playing for just under nine minutes. Jonathan Cominga, seeded seventh overall two years ago, received several DNPs but once again found himself in the rotation after a solid performance in New Orleans. Saw nine minutes of action off the bench.

Nothing came of the second half after the Warriors trailed by 12 points in the first half.

“The thought process is when you’re struggling and you don’t have rhythm, you don’t have consistency, the veteran players will be able to provide that more than the younger players,” Kerr explained on Wednesday after training the Warriors. “Tai and Anthony are relatively young, but they have been college players for four years. They have learned a lot, they have absorbed a lot more from our youth.

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“They are better able to allow different groups to click and defend without contamination.”

Kerr then highlighted how Lamb, 24, plays everywhere in defense and plays with his hands up rather than out, with many players receiving fouls. He highlighted the same qualities as Jerome, and indicated that he trusted the goalkeeper to take care of the ball. Jerome, 25, has turned the ball only twice in his eight games, and Lamb has produced 1.9 plus-minus defensive squares in the three games he has played.

Both were signed late in the season, and both quickly earned Kerr’s trust. Or another way of saying it, greater confidence from young inexperienced warriors who carry a lot of weight in the warriors’ short and long term success.

With the Warriors struggling and needing to snatch a five-game losing streak, Curry had to dress up as his superhero and Kerr had to trust his two-way players like everyone else.

“These are crucial when our margin of error is really small,” Kerr said. “As we get older and our vets – Clay, Jordan – really start to get into trouble, I think it will be easier to find different combinations and integrate some of our guys.

“At the moment it is important that we try to create some managers with our squad and it is likely that experienced players will be able to do that.”

In the end, Kerr got his wish with a 116-113 victory. Although Kerr doesn’t lead the cheering division for a plus-minus as a stat, Lamb was minus -7 in 16 minutes and Jerome was -22 of minus in 11 minutes.

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This is a bit beside the point. What’s most interesting for a team that is the reigning title and includes at least three veteran Hall of Famers is the fact that two-way players are seen as veterans who can calm the storm and lead the way. Yes, Donte DiVincenzo is expected to play Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Andre Iguodala will be back at some point, focusing on being healthy in the second half and play-off matches. Kerr says he still trusts 32-year-old JaMychal Green, but as the Warriors got a little older, Green joined Wiseman as a DNP.

While Kerr’s answer on Lamb and Jerome was full of positives, it also revealed a huge gap in the dream of temporal warriors. Developing one or even two of the best prospects on a competitive team can be viable. Doing that with four or five guys just might be an unfair request, especially for a team that has every intention of being competitive again.

A handful of Golden State players aged 21 or younger are giving the Warriors their highest climbing potential in years. Warriors also learn the dangers of potential when players aren’t given room to grow from mistakes, understandably when it costs them in the win column. What is really revealed is how difficult it is to be a role player. It’s a skill that doesn’t get absorbed overnight.

Last season’s championship seat was filled with veterans from different backgrounds. Gary Payton II, Damion Lee and Juan Toscano Anderson all went without drafting. Payton is 29 years old, Damion Lee is 30 and Toscano-Anderson is 29.

The same can be said for Nemanja Bilica, 34, who was a Euroleague star in the past and then was on his fourth team in his seventh NBA season when he became a champion with the Warriors.

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Otto Porter Jr. was the only previous first draftee, but the 29-year-old was in his ninth season in the NBA when he joined the Warriors, his fourth franchise in the league. It was the perfect, steady presence that the Warriors Seat needed. He has been in the place of the former’s top picks and has also turned himself into an invaluable player.

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Season 11 old games. Time is on the side of the warriors. Meanwhile, Modi on Wednesday had to demand more life from him and his teammates who celebrated on the sidelines, and Devincenzo emphasized the need for more energy from the group overall. These two factors were not a question mark a season ago. Veterans have gone through the rigors of being professionals, accepting what vitality can do on the field or on the sidelines for a team.

There is a process to life as a professional. Kerr does his best to balance the right times when to speed up and when to slow it down. It’s a daunting task, and it’s clear now that he trusts two players who have more restrictions on the number of matches they can play for the senior team than those who have invested in the franchise more than the other players who are now winning.

Help will be on the way. The season is barely a tenth of the way. A seminar on the importance of experience and the difficulties involved in what constitutes a player’s role is taught every day in San Francisco’s gleaming new Mission Bay neighborhood.

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