The Golden State Warriors aren’t a better team without Stephen Curry, but the defending NBA champions have the opportunity to grow as a collective unit while the two-time MVP is sidelined.
Curry remains out of action with an ankle injury, which the team will revisit in two weeks. While the Warriors likely will be without the star point guard for the next six games, head coach Steve Kerr believes his club is up to the task.
“We’re faced with a real challenge. Steph is the guy that makes us go,” Kerr told Mark Medina of The Mercury News. “We have great players, but Steph is the engine. Everything we do revolves around him. We’re going to have to adapt and have to execute better. Our cutting has to be sharper. Our screening has to be better. Our decision making has to be better. In the long run, I think it’ll be a good thing.”
The ailment isn’t exactly devastating for Golden State. Curry isn’t expected to be out for a lengthy period of time, and the team still has three of the NBA’s best players in Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Kerr understands how much star power his roster possesses, but he’s still looking forward to embracing the challenge of playing without Curry.
“Big-picture wise over the next couple of weeks, it’s an opportunity for our team to get better,” Kerr said. “We have to and have no choice to be more proficient and more precise with the way we play. We have to look at it as that opportunity.
“It’s the ultimate luxury – lose one MVP and have another one to go to,” Kerr said. “That’s crazy. Most coaches don’t even have the first option. As a staff we have two guys. What makes our team special is not having an MVP or having two MVPs, it’s having a team of playmakers.”
This also isn’t unfamiliar territory for the Warriors. Durant missed 19 consecutive games with a knee injury last season, and the Dubs went 15-4 during that stretch. KD also benefitted from the added rest, as he arguably was Golden State’s best player throughout the 2017 playoffs, which included NBA Finals MVP honors.
So don’t expect the Warriors to be crushed by Curry’s inactivity. It probably will only make them stronger.