Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr shared some exciting news on Thursday: Stephen Curry is no longer playing with a minutes restriction. After missing the final month of the regular season while he recovered from foot and shoulder injuries, Curry returned to the Dubs rotation in time for their first-round postseason matchup against the Denver Nuggets but has been playing with a cap on his minutes.
In the first two games of the series, both Warriors wins, Curry played around 22 minutes, primarily closing quarters for the Dubs. When Golden State headed on the road, though, his minutes increased significantly. Curry played nearly 31 minutes in Game Three and almost 37 in Game Four, right in line with his 34.5 minutes per game regular-season average.
Now that Curry is cleared to play his usual minutes and the Warriors finally lost a game with him coming off the bench, it seems likely that Steph will finally return to the starting lineup on Wednesday (although Kerr refused to answer that question on Tuesday).
Now the question is, who will Steph displace? Jordan Poole easily has the most experience coming off the bench but has arguably been the Warriors' best player in Curry’s absence. Kevon Looney has struggled throughout the series against Denver and consistently plays the fewest minutes of any Warriors starter. The Dubs best lineups have Draymond Green shifting to the small-ball five. Perhaps Kerr will decide to start his five best players, moving Looney to the bench.
All things considered, the Warriors have to feel good about their position. They were floundering in the weeks that followed Curry’s injuries but rebounded in time to remain the three-seed in the Western Conference. Currently leading the Nuggets 3-1 in their best-of-seven series, the Dubs will look to officially move on to the next round by winning Game 5 on Wednesday.