Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr isn’t sure how short-handed his team will be when the 2022 NBA Finals begin Thursday.
Kerr said the injured Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. all participated in Monday’s practice but did not take part in the scrimmage portion. “Because of that, Kerr doesn’t have a feel for their availability yet for the Finals,” ESPN’s Kendra Andrews reported.
Iguodala has not played since Game 4 of Golden State’s first-round series against the Denver Nuggets thanks to a disc injury in his neck. The veteran played just 31 games this season and is past his prime at 38 years old.
But he is a three-time champion who won the 2015 NBA Finals MVP for Golden State and can at least be a calming presence in the biggest moments if he is on the floor.
Payton’s last appearance was Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals series against the Memphis Grizzlies. He fractured his elbow when Dillon Brooks committed a flagrant-2 foul on him in transition.
Brooks was ejected from that game and suspended for the next.
Payton is also a role player but could provide solid perimeter defense on the Boston Celtics’ collection of outside weapons. Kerr could utilize him as a starter or spark off the bench in an effort to counter Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown or Marcus Smart for stretches.
Porter’s last appearance was Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. The 28-year-old had settled into a valuable secondary role at the time of the injury and scored in double figures in four of his previous five games, including the first two against Dallas.
Boston is known for its stout defense, so the Warriors could use every scorer they can get on the floor. Porter certainly fits that bill even if he isn’t as critical of a piece as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins or Jordan Poole on a nightly basis.
Courtesy; CBS Sports