Is Steve Kerr reducing Stephen Curry's playing time because he realizes the Warriors' season is over?

Is Steve Kerr reducing Stephen Curry’s playing time because he realizes the Warriors’ season is over?

When the Golden State Warriors are in danger of missing out on the Play-In tournament, why is Steve Kerr forcing Stephen Curry to sit out more than nine minutes in a row during a crucial game against the top defense in the league?
Make sense of it.

After the Warriors’ 114-110 defeat to Minnesota on Sunday, Kerr said of Curry, “We’re trying to get him as much rest as we can.” “We’ve given him a lot of playing time. Two days ago, we spent 35 [minutes] playing him. Thus, we wanted to keep the minutes to a minimum while we were persevering. not suppress them, but also not overact him.”
Playing Curry for thirty minutes straight is not the same as over-using him. It is true that Curry played 35 minutes on Friday in the Warriors’ defeat to the Pacers, including the whole fourth quarter in which the team was down by 14 points. Curry remained mostly the same. They suffered a twelve-point loss.
Kerr had to try, however. With twelve games remaining, the Warriors are holding onto a one-game advantage over the Rockets in the loss column to secure the last Play-in position. Every game is enormous. At 4:07 in the third quarter on Sunday, Curry took a seat, and the Warriors were up by four points. They were down eight points at 6:54 in the fourth quarter when he returned. For a club that currently operates on a very narrow margin, it is too much of a swing.
“I want to play as many minutes as I’m fresh and able to, so I’m a little bit [surprised] knowing that [the Timberwolves] were going on a run,” Curry said after the defeat on Sunday. “Our advantage was eroding. It didn’t work out, this [against Minnesota] didn’t work out, and I played the whole fourth quarter against Indiana. We need to find a medium ground.”
Curry is definitely eager to play more, but Kerr has said very clearly where he stands. Curry has only played more over 32 minutes twice in the 14 games played since the All-Star break. In nine games in March, he has played less than thirty minutes each night on average. He played only 29 minutes in a crushing defeat to the Bulls, 17 in a rout of Boston, and 24 in a rout of Memphis.
Yes, Curry sustained an ankle roll with less than four minutes remaining in the Chicago game. He would not have played more than 33 minutes overall even if he had completed the game.
Whether Curry likes it or not, one might argue that he needs the rest. His output has drastically decreased, maybe due in part to the hefty scoring and creating load he has taken on this season for an old squad that is struggling to win every game. He was averaging 21.3 points going into Sunday on a meager 40% of his shots, including 35% from three in nine games in March.
“We can’t expect to just ride Steph game after game after game,” Kerr said. “We’ve given him the responsibility for this franchise for the last fifteen years. He cannot play for thirty-five minutes. I completely disagree with your assertion that his playing 30 minutes as opposed to 32 makes the difference between a victory and a defeat. Our goal is to win the match. We’re also attempting to keep him invigorated.”
I believe that there is another idea at work here: Kerr believes in his heart that this Warriors squad is over. He has been playing the “I believe this team can compete” card the whole season, but let’s be honest. It’s finished. They are executing the string. It’s irrelevant whether the season concludes in the middle of April or towards the end of April.
Either that, or Kerr still thinks this Warriors club is capable of winning a championship, in which case it would be considered malpractice for him to bench Curry for nine minutes straight during the final minutes of a game that was all but necessary to win. I do not accept that.
“To be honest, I’ve been thinking about next season for the last month,” Bill Self said after Kansas’ defeat in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. It was an honest appraisal of a squad that Self knew lacked it. Could you blame Kerr if he feels the same way about the Warriors this year? This isn’t what the man envisions as a competitive squad; he knows better.
So why drain Curry’s reserves just to fall short in the first round or play-in? Take a look at this timeline. This month, Curry turned 36. This summer, he will compete in the Olympics. With two years left on his present deal, Kerr just inked a new one that coincides with Curry’s contract expiration in 2026.
Not only is he trying to preserve Curry’s maximum freshness for the next weeks. He intends to carry this out in the next years. Chris Paul and Klay Thompson could not be around this summer. Kuminga Jonathan has taken a big step. The Warriors can trade a few of their future draft selections. If Curry is willing to continue to shoulder a heavy burden until his late thirties, there may be one more opportunity to pull a roster unicorn out of the hat and defeat a rival club in the Bay. Maybe the planning for it has already begun.

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