Why Steve Kerr is replacing James Wiseman with Kevon Looney in the starting lineup

Peninsula Premier Admin

In an effort to improve the Warriors’ defense and avoid falling into early deficits, head coach Steve Kerr has decided to start Kevon Looney at center, supplanting rookie James Wiseman, ahead of Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“We have a lot of moving parts,” Kerr said following two bad losses in which the Warriors’ starters were out-scored by 34 total points. “We’re trying to develop young players and be a playoff team, be a contender. And we’re trying to do all that at once. And so part of that process is going to include occasional changes to lineups combinations.

“I’m very confident that this ultimately will be a good part of James’s development,” he continued. “He’s still going to play, but it gives him a slightly different role and a different way to look at the game.”

Wiseman, 19, has had his share of “SportsCenter”-worthy highlights, but has also struggled to protect the rim, guard in space and defend without fouling.

Citing the need to improve defensively, Kerr will start Looney alongside Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green. In his five-plus seasons, Looney has emerged as a reliable defender who can switch onto multiple positions and execute a game plan.

This is not an indictment on Wiseman, the No. 2 pick in November’s draft who faced a steep learning curve after having played just three college games at Memphis, according to Kerr.

“We’re just continuing to try to help him understand the NBA game and learn the nuances of protecting the rim defensively, doing his job as a center at that end of the floor,” Kerr said. “Then on offense, learning to set screens and learning the nuances of offensive pace and movement and the actions that he’s experiencing for the first time.”

In 16 games with the Warriors, Wiseman averaged 11.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 21.4 minutes per game. Wiseman will slide into Looney’s previous role off the bench, likely seeing time at the end of the first and third quarters. Eric Paschall, who has thrived as a small-ball center, will continue to come off the bench and anchor the second unit.

Contributed by local news sources

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