Friday night’s Warriors starting lineup was without a key player, but that shouldn’t cause any concern. When the Golden State Warriors played their first pre-season game in Japan, head coach Steve Kerr informed the media that Jordan Poole would start in lieu of Klay Thompson. The Warriors went on to win 96-87.

While Thompson is free of injury and ready to go for the 2022-23 NBA season, head coach Steve Kerr is taking it slow with the veteran guard in his first full season back from a two-year injury absence. This is especially true in light of the Warriors’ accelerated schedule, which has them playing in Japan so early in the preseason.

When the team returns to the United States, Thompson’s role with the Warriors will be gradually increased. Meanwhile, Jordan Poole has been promoted to the starting lineup.

Steve Kerr explains why Klay Thompson is left off

“Klay won’t play in either game here in Japan. Just feel more comfortable giving him a little more of a ramp up,” Kerr said. “He’s just not quite ready to play at this point, just based on where — we’re so early in camp. We just want to be safe and make sure he gets a good ramp-up before he plays in games.”

After missing time with back-to-back injuries, Thompson returned to the floor on January 9 of last year and helped lead the Warriors to their fourth NBA title in eight years. The 32-year-old had been out of action since Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He scored 30 points against the Toronto Raptors and then tore his ACL and Achilles tendon, ruling him out for the entire 2020-21 NBA season.