It is unknown just how long reigning MVP Steph Curry will be out with the sprained knee he suffered at Houston on Sunday. And it is also a mystery of just how well the defending champs are without the league’s best player. But inside the locker room and to anybody really looking at the situation, it’s not too hard to see that the Warriors are far from doomed. And there’s plenty of reasons why. Eight reasons as a matter of fact.
Draymond Greene, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguadala, Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Leondro Barbosa, Maurice Speights, and Shaun Livingston.
While there is little doubt that Steph Curry was the best player in the world this season, he was hardly the only reason Golden State was able to dominate the league on their way to posting the best record in NBA history. These other eight players along with the hot shooting guard gave the Warriors easily the best roster in the league, and even without Curry, Golden State has more than enough talented and productive players to repeat as champions.
Don’t believe me? Don’t think Golden State is a legit contender without their star point guard? Well maybe you didn’t see game 4 of their playoff series against the Houston Rockets on Sunday. Their 121-94 victory over James Harden’s Rockets was in no thanks to the man who is all but guaranteed to win the NBA MVP award. Curry was an abysmal 2 of 9 shooting from the field with just 6 points before injuring himself at the end of the 1st half. After the halftime break the two teams that were tied at 56 a piece looked totally different, as the Warriors minus Curry played a near flawless 2nd half and outplayed the Rockets to the tune of a 27 point 2nd half advantage. But before you think that half was simply an aberration and not nearly telling of how much the Warriors need Curry in the lineup, look at the regular season stats.
In the three games without Curry the Warriors are 2-1, beating both Dallas and Atlanta, two playoff teams, and averaging 105 points per game means the offense that led the league in scoring again didn’t miss too much without the best 3-pt shooter in NBA history. And maybe that is because their backup point guard is a player good enough to start for most teams in the league.
Sixth Man of the Year Award runner-up Shaun Livingston is arguably the best back up at any position in the NBA, and with Steph out for what looks to be a couple of weeks, the 30 year old guard will get to show why he was once a 5-star recruit who opted out of his scholarship to Duke to be a top 5 pick in the draft. And this year he has really shown what he is able to do, shooting over 50% from the field during the regular season and putting up a more than respectable 1.62 WAR (wins above replacement).
So fear not Warriors fans, your team is much more than just Curry and four other guys. Instead the team is deeper than nearly any team in NBA history, and loaded with all-star players. What’s more is that the player taking the place of Curry is quite the player in his own regard. All of this is my argument against Steph Curry for the league’s MVP, an award he is all but guaranteed to win, but I’ll leave that for another day. But maybe the best thing that Golden State has going for them isn’t anything to do with their own team.
In last night’s Clippers-Trail Blazers game fellow point guard Chris Paul, arguably the most irreplaceable player in the Western Conference, broke a finger on his right hand and is likely out for the rest of the postseason. Why is that good for the Warriors? Because now it looks like the 1st round series between Portland and Los Angeles will go at least until Game Six on Friday and maybe Game Seven on Sunday. This prolonging of a series that looked to be headed to an early Clippers win instead could drag out and give Curry’s knee more time to heal. Add in the fact that Portland will now be favored to win the series and face off against a much better Golden State squad that will be picked to beat either the overmatched Trailblazers or the Chris Paul-less Clippers and the need for Steph Curry to be healthy soon is far from dire.
Either way the Golden State Warriors are set to be just fine finishing off the Rockets in this series and through the next series whether it be Portland or Los Angeles. Now whether or not they can take on the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals and come out victorious is another question. Luckily neither of those teams are as deep or as talented as the Warriors regardless of the Steph Curry injury. And although Curry’s injury will keep the league’s best player out of the next few weeks of the postseason, it will not keep the league’s best team out of the postseason. And there’s 8 reasons why.