DENVER -- Warriors coach Mark Jackson still is mum on who will start in place of David Lee for Game 2. Usually when Lee is out, his backup, Carl Landry, fills in as the starter.
"I'm not sure yet," Jackson said at Tuesday's shootaround. "I'm still just trying to figure it out. This is a new experience for me, coaching in the playoffs."
Yes, he was mocking the media, which he revealed when he laughed.
He likely knows what he will do already but wants to keep Denver in suspense. But interestingly enough he does have a few ways he could experiment. He is not just figuring out the starter, he is also deciding how he wants his bench to look.
Landry starting is not a ridiculous drop off from Lee. It's pretty vital that Golden State gets off to a good start, so it is important to have a threat at power forward.
However, starting Landry does leave a significant void on the bench. Guard Jarrett Jack and Landry have been the primary offense off the bench. Removing Landry hijacks the Warriors' bench production, which is one of their strengths. That is especially relevant against Denver, which will play eight to 10 deep.
Jackson could theoretically start Jack and go with a three-guard rotation. But that would deplete the Warriors' bench even more than Landry starting would.
In a potentially uptempo match, against a deep team, the Warriors will need a bench. That might be enough for Jackson to try another option.
"I'm a first-time coach," Jackson said. "I just realize it's such a huge decision. I'm trying to take as much time as possible to figure this thing out. I don't have 1,000 games under our belt."
Jackson could save Landry for the bench by starting rookie Draymond Green. That would give the Warriors a good defender and someone who can run the floor like Lee did. The problem with Green is that he's not the offensive threat.
The Nuggets had to defend Lee. Denver coach George Karl even suggested Lee was the player who hurts his team the most. With Lee being replaced by a non-offensive player, the Nuggets would be free to shift the focus they used to employ to Lee onto point guard Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Certainly, the Nuggets would prefer Green taking shots to the Warriors' sharp-shooting guards.
Another option would be to start veteran Richard Jefferson. He brings some of what Green brings. But Jefferson is a better offensive player. He can slash and hit the corner 3-pointers, so he can really make the Nuggets pay for double-teaming Curry.
Jackson hasn't used Jefferson much lately. So putting him in the starting lineup doesn't require rejiggering the entire rotation. Plus Jefferson has some experience in this environment. He's got the most playoff minutes of any player on the Warriors' roster.
Another option: go really big. With Kenneth Faried, a bruising power forward, the Warriors could beef up the frontline and start Festus Ezeli or Andris Biedrins next to Andrew Bogut. It would hurt on offense the same way Green would.
But Golden State would be able to rebound, which is vital, and protect the paint, also vital.