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Kevon Looney to replace James Wiseman in the starting lineup

We’ve got a new set of starters.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

After much speculation, the Golden State Warriors have finally made a change to the starting lineup. No, it’s not the Damion Lee for Kelly Oubre Jr. swap that many fans have been clamoring for, but instead a change at the center position. Rookie James Wiseman — who started the first 16 games of the season, despite missing the bulk of training camp due to the coronavirus — will head to the bench, with respected veteran Kevon Looney replacing him.

Kerr announced the news prior to Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

From a minutes standpoint, this won’t change things all that much, since Wiseman wasn’t getting heavy starter’s minutes, and Looney was playing a big role off the bench. And Kerr maintained that Eric Paschall will continue to find playing time as a small ball 5 with the bench units.

But from a functionality standpoint, it’s a swap that figures to play a huge role. Looney is a spectacular defensive player, and while he isn’t going to make any All-Offense teams, he’s very comfortable in the Warriors system, and playing alongside Steph Curry and Draymond Green.

Wiseman has flashed star potential, but isn’t at Looney’s comfort level yet with the players or the system. That has made itself clear with some pretty stark numbers.

That’s not necessarily a knock on Wiseman. He’s the epitome of raw, and it shouldn’t be surprising that he’s in a little over his head with such a complex system and a truncated developmental path. Like Oubre, Wiseman seems to do batter with bench units where things are a little more chaotic and scattered.

With all that said, look for the Dubs to still prioritize minutes with Wiseman next to Curry and Green, albeit maybe not for a few games. The numbers may be awful now, but Golden State knows much of their future depends on turning that around.

With back-to-back embarrassing losses, it’s clear that the Dubs are shifting their focus a little bit, from developing the players and system to trying and win games.

And who can blame them? That is, after all, the point.

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