The Golden State Warriors will have a more difficult path toward the NBA Finals as their two-time MVP will miss at least the first round of the playoffs.
Coach Steve Kerr already announced before the Warriors loss to the Utah Jazz that there’s no way Stephen Curry will suit up for the first round. In three weeks, the training staff will reevaluate the point guard again for the Grade 2 MCL sprain, then he needs to be cleared for contact practice before he will see action on the floor.
But Curry is still positive that he can come back much earlier.
“Hopefully, I prove what coach said was wrong and put myself in position to get back as soon as possible,” he said. “But right now, who knows? Just try to do my job in the rehab process and get back as soon as I can.”
Kerr took the podium before his All-Star point guard prior to a 110-91 home loss to the Utah Jazz.
If the playoffs were to start today, the Golden State Warriors would face the Minnesota Timberwolves, a young and dangerous team led by all-stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler. They also have complementary pieces that can give Kerr fits.
There’s Andrew Wiggins, a lanky forward who can score and defend, as well as former all-stars Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford. The Wolves also have length with Taj Gibson and Gorgui Dieng.
Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson would have to step up to fill the gap in the absence of Curry, who is averaging 26.4 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.1 rebounds this year. But it’s not the scoring they will sorely miss, it’s the way he breaks down defenses and makes it easier for everybody else.
But Durant, for all his unselfishness, knows when to step up. In the 11 games that Curry missed on an ankle injury, the 7-0 forward averaged 28.8 points and almost a double-double every game. He’s also shooting more as he broke the 20-shot barrier in nine of those games.