Hunter shocked to make his first start in the NBA
Chris Hunter went from NBA Development League call-up to starting NBA center on Friday. Which means Anthony Randolph went from rising star to fifth-string center.
Despite the Warriors being down three centers and with no true power forward on the roster, Randolph still couldn't crack the starting lineup. Coach Don Nelson went with the beefier but less-experienced Hunter against the Washington Wizards' 7-foot, 263-pound center Brendan Haywood. Hunter is 6-11 and 240 pounds, 15 pounds heavier than Randolph.
"I was a little bit surprised, a little shocked," Hunter said before the game. "It means a little bit. We had some people go down. It just speaks to Coach having a little bit of confidence in me and my work to get better every day. Hopefully, I can go out there and give good minutes."
Randolph's name has been in the news lately as reports surfaced about the Warriors shopping the second-year player, which multiple sources confirmed to the Bay Area News Group. A team source said the team isn't specifically trying to get rid of Randolph. Another team source said the Warriors are trying to package Randolph with someone they really want to move: forward Corey Maggette — and the remaining three years, $30-plus million he'll still be owed after this season.
Randolph wound up playing 36 minutes, finishing with 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five turnovers. Hunter played eight minutes, all in the first quarter. He missed all three of his shots and grabbed two rebounds.
"You've got to be professional about it," Hunter said. "I'm not a first-round draft pick, so I'm not going to be guaranteed minutes. Most definitely, there's still a lot I have to prove. I just got my feet wet a little bit, but I have to continue to improve. I think there are a lot of things I can do for this team on the court if I can keep getting better."
Moore said he had been playing with a bone spur in his heel that was digging into his Achilles tendon. He averaged 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 17.7 minutes per game. He started 20 of his 23 games this season.
— MARCUS THOMPSON II