Have No Fear, Steph Curry’s Injury Was Bound To Happen
Many said the Golden State Warriors were lucky to have avoided the injury bug last year while the Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t escape it. The San Antonio Spurs suffered from it early and paid for it dearly with a first round exit.
The fact of the matter is when you seek to enter the annals of history, there is going to be an incalculable circumstance that happens at the worst possible time.
Wardell Stephen Curry II — as incredible as an athlete he’s become — has an established history regarding his lower extremities. It should come as no surprise after crushing his own three-point shooting record and leading the defending champions to a historic 73–9 regular season record that Curry’s legs temporarily gave out.
This isn’t the first time we have collectively held our breaths watching Curry crumble to the hardwood; especially against the Rockets. Last year in game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, Curry took a nasty tumble under the basket. Fortunately, he passed the league’s concussion protocol and was cleared to return.
Curry has played 159 games in two seasons. A player with his type of explosiveness, speed, and agility is going to experience problems with his ankles and knees. When you compound that with an existing pattern, it’s hard to dispel concerns about future injuries.
The toughest part of athletic injuries is that when they occur without contact, they typically are freak accidents. In this case, Curry reportedly slipped on a wet spot on the court. No structural damage was the best scenario.
The positive about Curry’s injury is it’s happening in a period when the Warriors will have time to prepare for whomever they could potentially face in the Western Conference Finals.
I believe the team is still in good shape to make it past the Houston Rockets and even through the second round, regardless of the opponent and without having Curry launching 35 foot shots.
Golden State’s dramatic, storied run to make the history books was propelled by Curry’s pragmatism. Even when he beat your team with a elegant mid floater or a hard baseline drive, you didn’t hate him because he did it so well. The media followed Curry because you go where the story is. However, as the season wore on, I became more fascinated by the Warriors’ bench.
They didn’t get the full credit they deserved. Yet, now some attention will be paid to them while he recovers.
Let’s face it — Klay Thompson is going to get his 25–30 points. Draymond Green is going to stretch the floor and help create second chance opportunities for his team. Harrison Barnes has finally reached the expectations the Warriors had for him given his draft position. But Curry’s immediate backup, Shaun Livingston, might be the x-factor over the next few games. His play will likely influence the Warriors’ outlook going into a series where the Spurs or the Thunders will be just as physical as the first round has been.
There was a time that I didn’t think Shaun Livingston would ever play at a high level again.
When you talk about sports injuries, his was one of the worst I’d ever seen happen on live tv. The Warriors are lucky that he has been able to return to starting form.
Livingston’s game is different than Curry’s. While Curry’s best allies are his speed and his quick release as a shooter, Livingston’s is his length. He can guard three positions along with bringing the ball up. Klay Thompson is averaging 33.3 minutes per game, but even he’s going to need to conserve energy here and there. With Leandro Barbosa and even Brandon Rush on the bench, Steve Kerr has options to play next to Thompson in the backcourt during Curry’s absence.
People seem to forget how impressive of a guard Barbosa was. His start in Phoenix feels so far in the past now. But the 33 year old has still found ways to be effective for the Warriors in garbage time. I don’t doubt that Kerr can get some value out of him in games where the Warriors can’t afford to leave any points on the table.
Two weeks can be a long time in the playoffs.
With Curry out for the next two weeks, a Western Conference Finals spot appears to be up for grabs. News of his injury, along with those of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, have pushed the San Antonio Spurs into the new favorites to go to the NBA Finals.
It may be hard to argue with those odds. Be that as it may, Steph Curry’s injury isn’t as big of a deal as it seemed initially. So chill out, everyone!
If anything, this should scare opponents. Because if the Warriors can make it to the Finals without Steph Curry fully healthy (or resting him entirely), they become a team that much closer to dynasty levels.