The Golden State Warriors made an odd move to start the second half against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night. Trailing by 12 at the break, the Warriors tweaked the starting lineup for the third quarter.
Moving out of the lineup was Kevon Looney, who has been one of the team’s best players this season. Moving into the lineup was Jordan Poole, who has struggled mightily in the opening weeks.
I guessed that it was out of a desire to get Draymond Green playing the five, but after the game, coach Steve Kerr revealed that it was more about trying to get Poole going.
The Warriors started Jordan Poole in the second half last night. Steve Kerr said it was to "see if he could get going a little bit." Here's Kerr's full explanation on the move. pic.twitter.com/shG8KdV0y5— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 8, 2022
“We wanted to start Jordan, see if we could get him going a little bit, and spread the floor,” Kerr explained, before later adding, “JP’s in a little bit of a funk right now. But we know what he can do, he’s so important to our bench unit, and I’m very confident that he’ll get it going, and that we’ll find the right combinations and patterns to help those guys get going.”
The move certainly appears to be a one-off. Asked if he would consider starting Poole going forward, Kerr said, “I haven’t even given that any thought.” But perhaps we’ll see such a move a few more times, as Kerr added that, “Starting him in the second half was not only to get him going, but to change the flow of the game.”
It’s hard to say whether or not it worked. It did change the flow of the game, as the Warriors outscored the Kings 13-5 in the 4:45 before making their first second-half substitution. But it certainly didn’t get Poole going, as he finished with just two points ... his lowest total since going scoreless on April 9, 2021.
The Warriors starters have been elite this year, but the bench has been perhaps the worst in the NBA. Poole returning to the form he showed all last year would go a long ways towards turning that around. That, plus the returns of Andre Iguodala and Donte DiVincenzo, could put Golden State’s bench right back on the map.