SAN FRANCISCO – The Warriors have two actors in the health and safety protocols for COVID-19.
Your opponent on Monday night, the Sacramento Kings, has six players on record as well as their head coach, Alvin Gentry.
Teams around the NBA are seeing games – even a week’s competitions – postponed due to COVID.
However, since the NBA is not expected to interrupt the game throughout the league during this fourth wave, the Warriors and the rest of the association go on eggshells.
« It’s nerve-wracking for everyone, » said Warriors coach Steve Kerr ahead of Monday’s game. “It’s hard to be like that again, but it’s tough for everyone. »
But in the midst of the chaos, there is a chance for the Warriors’ rookies, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.
With Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole out of action for an indefinite period, Kuminga will start his second straight game on Monday. Kerr said Moody will be a key player from the bank.
Kuminga made his first NBA start on Saturday in Toronto. He scored 26 points in 36 minutes in that game while most of the Warriors veterans were in the Bay Area.
The game on Monday will prove to be a different challenge for the number 7 of the overall selection. Instead of playing alongside Chris Chiozza and Juan Toscano-Anderson, he shares the pitch with Steph Curry and Draymond Green.
« That’s not 26 points in Toronto … we’ll see that every night, » Kerr said of Kuminga. “It’s not so much that he has to play differently. He has to focus on the most important aspects of the game that will help us win. »
“We need him to lock up defensively and defend without a foul. [To] get off and walk in transition. Just do it offensively. He’s so dynamic as an athlete, if he just stays patient and chooses his points carefully, he’ll produce. »
With Moody, who started in Boston on Friday but only played 10 minutes. Kerr cited the need to get the 19-year-old out of Arkansas « reruns ».
“I see a guy who has a good feel for the game. Good natural instincts, ”Kerr said of Moody. “As a rookie, it only takes time to gain confidence. You need repetitions, you have to feel the game over and over again. »
« He needs the experience. And that’s why we’ll keep sending him to Santa Cruz [the Warriors’ subsidiary] on occasion, where he did really well. And you never know – how we’ll find out he’s going to get that opportunity. »
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Kevon Looney has played and started every game for the Warriors this season, and with two starters from the line-up with COVID and two potential starters still dropping out with long-term injuries, the value of that persistence from Kerr is not overlooked.
« He’s been a stone to us this year and couldn’t be happier for him, » said Kerr. “Especially the way the last few years have been for him physically. He invested time and effort and he deserved it. He was one of our most consistent performers and one of the reasons our defense was number one in the league. »
Looney, a former five-star recruit whose draft stock broke after a year at UCLA with a hip injury, has struggled with injury problems throughout his career. First his hip, then a core muscle injury that had to be operated on in May 2020.
In the last five competitive games of the Warriors – without the shorthanded game on Saturday in Toronto in which Looney played – the Warriors center averaged 8.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2 assists per competition and was an increase of 8 players per night over this route.
Looney is not a player whose influence can be properly explained by statistics, but that does not mean that statistics cannot show his influence.
Regardless of whether the box score is empty or filled like in the last few games, Kerr is grateful.
Kerr couldn’t update when the Warriors would expect Poole and Wiggins to be back on the line-up on Monday and left matters to the team’s coaches.
« It’s all up to the league and its protocols, » said Kerr. “And since I’m not an expert, I won’t go into that. I just listened to the training material and whatever they say. »
« Of course we hope to get both of them back as soon as possible. I’m sorry for you I feel sorry for everyone in the league who dropped out. Of course the main thing is health and both boys are fine, so hopefully this will continue and we will get them back soon. «
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