The Golden State Warriors were dealt a huge blow to this season’s chances of winning an NBA Championship when MVP candidate Kevin Durant went down with an MCL sprain earlier this week. While some NBA fans were busy giving high-fives due to their enjoyment that the Warriors who tried to stack the deck will resemble the Warriors from last year all Steve Kerr could do was smile.
Does anyone remember the Warriors pre-Durant?
All they did was win 140 games during the regular season, set NBA records for three’s, boast one of if not the best backcourt in the NBA, an annual DPOY candidate, an MVP and how can we forget two straight NBA Finals while winning one. Yes, it’s hard to believe all this was done before Durant came to the Bay Area. Now, after the injury, many have jumped off the bandwagon or are applauding. Why? This is the worst nightmare for the other 29 teams in the NBA.
Durant is good and he makes the Warriors even better than they were but let’s not forget what this means for the two-time defending Western Conference champs.
You can look at the stats and tell that the Warriors Big 3 of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have adjusted to Durant’s production while scaling theirs back a bit. Curry, last season took 20 shots per game, has taken 18 this season, Klay has taken the same while Draymond has taken two less. It doesn’t seem like plenty but it makes a difference. But, with Durant now out, the Warriors will go back to what led them to two straight NBA Finals appearances.
This means that Green will be more of a focal point in terms of the offense and ball movement while Klay and Curry can take their positions behind the arc. It also sets up more playing time for super reserve Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston which will bode well for the Warriors but not for the rest of the league.
Durant’s presence put a small dent in the bench’s production but as the roster looks to adjust, we may get to see the Warriors that took the NBA over pre-Durant.