Thursday 17 August 2017 / 07:56 AM

CAN THE WARRIORS SURVIVE WITHOUT STEPH CURRY?

I’m one of those guys who thinks your typical NBA article blows injuries out of proportion to incite some sort of excitement from its viewers.

I’ve been seeing replays of Steph Curry limping a little bit all week and I’m pretty tired of it. The truth of the matter is, during the playoffs these injuries matter more than ever. All players are put under extremely strenuous and competitive conditions. The more elite teams, such as the Warriors, endure an even greater amount of pressure since they are expected to ended up in the finals.

This means something as little as a sprained ankle could be a huge disadvantage come showtime.

An organization and team like the Warriors needs to pay special attention to its most valuable player, and they know this, so I would expect Curry to spend more time than average rehabilitating an acute injury like a sprained ankle.

The question here is whether or not the Warriors would have a fighting shot at the NBA Championship without the mercurial Steph.

Let’s take a look at their most recent games against the Rockets. In Game 1, with Steph Curry present, the Warriors beat out the Rockets comfortably 104-78. In Game 2, without Curry, the Warriors won again – but with a less comfortable 115-106 margin.

Fortunately for the Warriors, their bench is pretty stacked. With Curry missing, Andre Iguadala was able to get more playing time and scored 18 points in Game 2, in comparison to his paltry 2 points in the series opener. It’s not only the playing time that matters, however. Having a teammate like Steph who is having a record-breaking 3-point season missing means that the entire game-play must change a bit.

Shaun Livingston is the back-up point guard and held his own against the Rockets, scoring 16 points in Game 2. Some might say that having Curry sit out a few games could be a blessing in disguise, allowing Livingston some time to get into the groove of playing at such a high level before the genuine high-stakes games begin.

Golden State, alongside San Antonio as a close second, is favored in the West and it’s going to take a lot of maintenance to allow them to play to their potential come championship time. Klay Thompson more than doubled his score from 16 to 34 in Curry’s absence. Klay himself is an excellent shooting guard and is capable of keeping the Warriors above water without Curry.

The way the Western Conference brackets are looking, Golden State will most likely play the Los Angeles Clippers in the next round. Hopefully for the Warriors, Curry will be completely healed up by then because Chris Paul is one of the best point guards in the league.

A match-up between Chris Paul and Shaun Livingston could be exactly what the Clippers need to pull a win over their heavyweight Western Conference rivals. If they emerge from that round unscathed – and these are purely guesses made on my behalf – and the Warriors advanced and played the Spurs in the conference finals, a problematic Steph Curry ankle would surely allow the experienced and hardened Spurs to take the Western Conference championship.

The Warriors are good without Steph, but not good enough to beat the Spurs.

The way things are shaping up, however, Curry’s ankle is only going to be a fleeting concern. He had an MRI done on his ankle on Tuesday and the test did not reveal anything concerning. The superstar will continue treatment, but it seems unlikely he will play Game 3 against the Rockets – not that his team necessarily needs him right now.

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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