Golden State Warriors

Report: Warriors will play small-ball ‘more than ever’ in 2021-22

If you thought the Golden State Warriors had already pushed playing “small-ball” in the NBA to the limit, think again.

The Warriors will reportedly play forward Draymond Green at center this season and deploy their small-ball lineup “more than ever.” That’s according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater, who said that coach Steve Kerr’s likely strategy was born last year when Golden State scored 147 points against the Mavericks in Dallas. That lineup featured Green at center and F Juan Toscano-Anderson as his power forward.

Green won’t start at center this season, presuming [Kevon] Looney remains healthy. But the Warriors are expected to move out of traditional lineups earlier and more often than ever. It’s why their summer roster reconstruction didn’t prioritize bigs. They don’t plan to deploy them with regularity.

Anthony Slater/The Athletic

Given the Warriors’ past success closing championships with a small lineup, featuring Green at center, of course, a small-ball strategy is no surprise. But Green isn’t a young player anymore at 32 years of age. Slater posed the question: why now? Then he gave us this quote from Kerr:

“It feels different. The league feels different to me than five, six years ago,” Kerr said. “There are more and more small lineups out there. Every team has more shooting, so you have to cover more ground, which is something Draymond is really good at. Then when we’re on offense, we want to have more shooting, so putting him at five, having him run pick-and-roll with Steph [Curry] and shooters around them, that’s tough to guard.”

The Athletic

The NBA definitely has changed. And coach Kerr is trying to get his squad to the top of the standings again, and fast. Rookie center James Wiseman will receive less playing time, but he’s still very young. He will grow as a player even if he simply plays a role this season.

And according to Slater’s reporting, it appears that Toscano-Anderson is as much a part of this small-ball revival as Green (and superstar Stephen Curry, clearly). Green and JTA were a plus-142 on the court together last season in 524 minutes. I can’t wait to see them in the frontcourt together again in 2021-22 for “Small-ball Part 2.”

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