Pacific Notes: Wiggins, Kuminga, Green, Lakers Lineup, Theis

The Warriors have a specific lineup issue that’s impacting both this year’s outlook and the future prospects of the team, writes Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. Golden State has to determine whether Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga — the team’s two most athletic players, in Kawakami’s view — can share the court together, especially with the trade deadline looming.

Kawakami writes that if Wiggins and Kuminga figure out how to play with one another, it would unlock the Warriors’ offense due to the fact that the two forwards make Golden State faster and more athletic. So far, that pairing hasn’t had much success.

In 106 minutes together on the floor this year, the duo has a minus-21.4 net rating, the worst on the team (of lineups that play often) by a large margin. They also have the worst defensive rating and rebound percentage among those lineups.

It’s something we will try with maybe some new people around them,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “Their numbers are not good together, frankly. They’re very redundant. So the tape and the numbers haven’t been great.

While this lineup wrinkle is just one question for a roster full of them, it has major implications. If the pair doesn’t figure things out, Kawakami writes the Warriors will likely have to choose between them, especially with Kuminga due for an extension on the horizon. If they do end up working well together, however, it could phase out minutes for Golden State’s other veteran pieces.

Kawakami also writes that while the Warriors previously may have been reluctant to move Wiggins in a trade after he signed a bargain contract specifically to stay with the team, he hears that may no longer be the case.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors are keeping quiet on the timetable for Draymond Green‘s return from his indefinite suspension, writes Jon Schultz of the San Francisco Chronicle.The Draymond stuff, everything is just private,” Kerr said. “That’s behind the scenes and I really don’t have anything to comment on that front.
  • The Lakers switched up their starting lineup on Saturday, replacing D’Angelo Russell with Jarred Vanderbilt in an effort to augment the defense. However, that hasn’t worked out just yet, with the new starting lineup posting a 125.0 defensive rating in their 18 minutes together, The Orange County Register’s Khobi Price writes. “We’ve just gotta buckle down defensively,Anthony Davis said. “We’re not really a switching team but now we’re getting to it because of our lineup. We’re able to do that. Miscommunication is kind of there. Offensively, we can be fine. But we have to do a better job on defense.
  • The Clippers acquired Daniel Theis to help address their frontcourt when Mason Plumlee went down with an MCL sprain in November. As Plumlee approaches his return to play, the Clippers haven’t yet determined how they’ll balance Theis and Plumlee when both are healthy, tweets Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times.
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