Warriors shaking up starting lineup with 1 shocking move to combat Lakers

The Warriors are shaking up the starting lineup for Game 4 as Steve Kerr looks to combat the Lakers, but the move to do so is a shocking one. 

Gary Payton II played a massive role for the Golden State Warriors a year ago as they rolled through the NBA Playoffs, into the NBA Finals and hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy once again.

And after falling behind the Lakers 2-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals of this year’s playoffs, head coach Steve Kerr is hoping that Payton can be a similar factor for his team once again in 2023.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Monday night ahead of Game 4 of the series between the Warriors and Lakers that Payton will be inserted into the starting lineup for Golden State. The Warriors plan to deploy a small-ball approach that features Stephen Curry, Payton, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green.

Warriors inserting Gary Payton II into starting lineup for Game 4 vs. Lakers

The move comes as quite the shock to many Warriors fans as Payton has been a bit of an eyesore for Golden State at times in these playoffs, specifically in the playoffs, specifically on offense. While he’s shot a fine percentage, his contributions have been minimal, literally posting a 0.0 Offensive Box Plus-Minus in the playoffs this year.

At the same time, though, it’s understandable why Kerr would make this adjustment and make it now given Payton’s prowess on the defensive end.

For his struggles on the offensive end of the floor, Payton remains a great perimeter defender. And in the 30-point Game 3 loss to the Lakers, it was D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schroder who really propelled LA to that with 33 combined points on a combined 8-of-14 shooting from 3-point range.

The hope, clearly, is that putting Payton into the starting lineup will force the Lakers to take a different approach than essentially attacking on the perimeter and getting mismatches with guys like Kevon Looney and JaMychal Green.

Whether it works or not remains to be seen but, facing a pivotal situation in which they don’t want to fall behind 3-1 in the series, Kerr is trying to make an adjustment to save the Warriors’ season.

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