Only 10 games into the 2022-23 campaign, the Warriors have made history — and that’s not a good thing.

After Friday’s loss in New Orleans, Golden State dropped to 0-6 on the road, becoming the first defending champions to start a season with six straight road losses. The Warriors just wrapped up a winless road trip, which left them at 3-7 overall. Only the Rockets (1-9) and Lakers (2-7) have worse records in the Western Conference standings.

During his Sunday media availability, Golden State coach Steve Kerr revealed that changes to the rotation are coming. The starting lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney continues to shine (plus-24.1 net rating in 109 minutes), but the bench minutes have been a disaster.

While he wouldn’t reveal the specifics of his plan, it’s fair to wonder if some of the adjustments will involve a couple of the franchise’s recent first-round draft picks.

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Jonathan Kuminga has earned more minutes

Kerr finally let Kuminga loose against the Pelicans, playing him for a season-high 38 minutes. The 20-year-old rewarded Kerr’s trust, totaling 18 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in a 114-105 loss.

Before that breakout performance, Kuminga had logged six appearances and three DNPs (did not play). Even when he was thrown into the mix, he barely had time to make an impact.

Kuminga stats Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks Minutes
First six games 2.7 1.8 0.5 0.2 0.2 10.9
Nov. 4 vs. Pelicans 18 4 2 2 1 38

Kuminga is going to make mental mistakes — that is to be expected from any player his age — and his lack of shooting can create spacing issues. But he brings instant energy and athleticism off the bench. He attacked early and often against the Pels.

“We’re trying to help him with all of the little details that young players need to learn,” Kerr said on Sunday. “I think the other night we got a look at some different combinations, which was really important. The first eight, nine games of the year were really about getting our feet underneath us and trying to see what we had with different combinations, and I think we’ve learned we’ve gotta try something different.

“So, [Kuminga] will be part of the new rotation, and I’m excited to play him. He’s just gotta keep doing what he’s doing.”

James Wiseman isn’t out of the rotation… yet

After missing the entire 2021-22 season because of a knee injury, Wiseman has been able to play in each of the Warriors’ first 10 games.

“It’s gonna take a lot of reps and time, but I see a really talented young guy who’s eager to learn, who’s committed to the team, who has overcome an awful lot to get to this point, dealing with his injury for over a year,” Kerr said. “He knows how to overcome adversity.”

Unfortunately for Golden State, that’s where the good news ends. 

The 21-year-old has looked completely out of sorts on both ends of the floor for extended stretches. Offensively, he remains a poor screener and has not yet established any chemistry with the team’s primary ball handlers.

On the other end, Wiseman finds himself in no man’s land far too often and doesn’t use his incredible size (7-0, 240 pounds) to impact the game on a consistent basis. He isn’t nearly aggressive enough in his pursuit of the ball.

“There’s a lot to anchoring the defense,” Kerr said. “As a guard, your responsibilities are more focused on your individual guy that you’re guarding — not to say that that’s easy, but as a big guy, you’re sort of the middle linebacker. You’re behind the play, calling out coverages, covering up for the guards’ mistakes. You gotta do all that quickly, and if you don’t do it quickly, you’re gonna foul somebody.

“You’re also trying to grow into your body and learn your body, and the game is happening so quickly below you that the speed can be overwhelming, even for a guy who’s a great athlete like James. … The experience leads to anticipation. The anticipation leads to being in a spot early. If you’re at a spot early, now you’re gonna make the right play.”

How much experience does Wiseman need, though? And how long are the Warriors willing to wait for him to show meaningful progress as they pursue back-to-back titles?

Kerr knows that Golden State fans want instant results, but for now, he is sticking by Wiseman. The Warriors believe their faith in the former No. 2 overall pick will ultimately pay off.

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