Kerr makes rare acknowledgment with roster stretched thin


SAN FRANCISCO – It could be construed as a subtle wink toward the Warriors’ brain trust or nothing more than a coach staring into bleak reality and stating simple facts, but Steve Kerr on Monday went where he rarely goes.

The Warriors coach expressed concern about the roster, specifically an ultrathin frontcourt now reduced to Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, and wistful memories of Zaza Pachulia.

“I’m concerned about Draymond and Loon right now,” said Kerr, sitting at the interview room podium. “They’ve been playing such heavy minutes with the number of bigs who have been out over the last few weeks.

“It’s that time of year anyway, that’s difficult. After the new year, before the All-Star break. Raining every day. The guys who have been playing heavy minutes absolutely need a break, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Which means keep riding Looney and Green and hope their wheels don’t spin off, even as they cope with their own physical challenges.

Looney’s streak of consecutive games will hit 152 when he takes the floor Tuesday night against the Phoenix Suns. It’s the longest streak on the Warriors and among the longest in the NBA.

But there is no respite in sight. Until there is, Loon must keep slogging up and down the court, loose tree branches attached to safety pins, managing neuropathy and grateful for surgically reinforced joints.

Green, often the lone midsize dog among mammoth beasts in the paint, has in recent weeks been a regular on the NBA injury report. Sprained left ankle on the first week of December, followed by a right quad contusion, followed by right foot soreness. Back discomfort wasn’t mentioned, but it also exists.

No downtime for Green, either. Since missing the Dec. 16 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, he has played the last 10 games, including a 45-minute shift in the double-overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks eight days ago.

None of the backups placed on the roster to give Looney and Green a break are available or have a timeline for a return. JaMychal Green (illness, right leg infection) has been out since Dec. 18. James Wiseman (left ankle sprain) missed the last four games, and Jonathan Kuminga (right foot sprain) the last three.

With the NBA trade deadline precisely 30 days away, the Warriors are active in the market, according to league sources. Though nothing is said to be imminent – the front office is more concerned with getting Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins back to speed – there is a desire to add size and shooting.

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Until that happens, and surely it is expected, the Warriors will rally around what they have. They’ve won five of their last seven games, but at 20-20 need a win over Phoenix to climb above .500 at the season's halfway point.

“I’m really proud of them, of that whole group, but of Loon and Draymond in particular, given the circumstances,” Kerr said. “What they’ve done for us the last couple weeks, keeping us afloat, has been really impressive.

“But, yes, it would be nice to give them a little rest.”

Yes, he said it. And he didn’t wink.

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