Warriors are in Danger
On the 28th of February, a play happened that has the potential to change the basketball world. It happened in Washington D.C. when the Golden State Warriors visited the Washington Wizards. Wizards’ center, Marcin Gortat was going for a rebound when he pushed Warriors center, Zaza Pachulia to the ground. In Pachulia’s way was All Star, Kevin Durant. Pachulia landed on Durant’s knee and caused Durant to leave the game early. After more extensive reviews of the injury, Durant suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain and a bone bruise. The most optimistic time table for his return is in four weeks. Durant is probably going to miss the rest of the regular season due to this injury. Or if Durant shows good progress, there is a possibility that head coach Steve Kerr will use Durant to shake off the rust and get him ready for the playoffs.
Why might this effect the entire league, one might ask? Simply put, it gives every team hope. The San Antonio Spurs are three games out of first and play the Warriors soon. The first match up with the Warriors, the Spurs blew out Golden State even with Durant on the court. The Houston Rockets and other teams close to the Warriors now have a chance to beat them with Durant out. The Cleveland Cavaliers are now the NBA’s top pick to win the Title. The Warriors do not stand a chance without Durant and their bench from last year, a sacrifice in order to get Durant. Losing Durant is huge for the Warriors; he was their best player all year. He leads the team in points, rebounds, and blocks. His surprising defense was a major factor why the Warriors are the top defensive team in the league. His 6’11” height and 7’4” wingspan allows the Warriors to play small. Their small lineup is the most feared lineup and is one of the toughest ever to defend. Durant was able to create shots for others and also create scoring opportunities for himself. With him out, the Warriors now have to rely on others to make shots. Even though they have enough offensive firepower, Durant’s injury makes it easier for teams to defend. Let’s be honest, the Warriors bigs are not the best in the league. Pachulia and JaVale MaGee are not many teams’ first choice of bigs. With Durant on the floor, he was big enough to help the bigs get rebounds. With him out, it makes it easier for other teams to get rebounds.
Do not count the Warriors out of Finals contention, it is still their title to lose. Durant is going to come back for the playoffs. Hopefully, he will be healthy enough to be effective. The Warriors also have one of the best backcourts in the history of basketball. Stephen Curry is a two-time MVP and the first ever unanimous MVP. He can get hot and lead his team to a title. At his pace, he is going to be the greatest shooter in basketball, if he isn’t already. The other Splash Brother, Klay Thompson, is probably going to be the second greatest shooter in the game. He is the best in the league at stringing shots together, so if the Warriors can get him going, they might have a 37-point league by the end of the quarter. Also from their title year and 73 game win season is Draymond Green. He can do it all for the Warriors and he will be asked to take more shots with Durant out. With these three All Stars healthy, the Warriors are in good shape. They just have to play better and go back to the pick-and-roll.