There are few teams that could survive without their best player for an extended period of time.
Two-time MVP Stephen Curry will miss at least the next two weeks after he suffered a right ankle sprain. Since this news broke, many have wondered how the Warriors’ offense would operate without Curry — but Golden State fans should breathe easy.
Call that statement crazy if you want, but the Warriors have two of the best two-way players in the league to pick up the slack. Four-time scoring champion and 2014 MVP Kevin Durant and three-time All-Star Klay Thompson are still elite players even if they have taken fewer shots with all three on the floor.
By no means could the Warriors survive for a full season without Curry — but they can still win without him for a stretch of two or three weeks. Curry came into Wednesday ranked fourth in scoring (26.3 points per game), third in three-pointers made (83), fourth in fast-break points per game (4.7), second in mid-range field goal percentage (55.3) and first in offensive rating (118.9).
Golden State Warriors Still Dangerous Without Stephen Curry
Without a Splash Brother
Curry is the most efficient player in the league and can hurt you from anywhere on the floor. Golden State lost Durant for an extended period of time last season and was arguably a better team on the offensive end.
When Shaun Livingston, Thompson, Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia are on the floor together, they are a +37 in 50 minutes over the past two seasons. This means the Warriors have outscored their opponents by 37 points when those five players are on the court.
When Curry has not been on the floor, Durant has always stepped up. His assist rate has gone up and always seems to impact each possession.
In their first game without Curry, both Durant and Thompson stepped up. Durant scored 16 points in the first quarter, the most he has scored in a single quarter this season. He finished with his ninth career triple-double, which included a season-high 35 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. He made three of his eight three-point attempts and shot 46.4 percent from the field (13-for-28).
Oh, and all Thompson did was contribute 22 points in 36 minutes. He shot a ridiculous 64.3 percent from the field (9-for-14) and 57.1 percent from deep (4-for-7) and made some ridiculous off-balance shots.
Not only will Durant’s and Thompson’s production help alleviate the loss of Curry, but the Warriors can go to one of the best second units filled with players who have been there and done that in big games. Andre Iguodala, Livingston and David West are three of the smartest players in the NBA.
Iguodala has always been one of the best defensive players and after leading the league in assist-to-turnover ratio last season, he is in the top five this season.
Livingston entered Wednesday with the eighth-best offensive rating in the league (114.4) and West has always been a lockdown defender who can knock down jumpers and block shots.
Even when Durant or Thompson are having an off night, someone normally steps up. Un-drafted rookie Quinn Cook made his first NBA start and was that guy on Wednesday.
There are plenty of other reasons that make the Warriors a dangerous team without Curry.
Their bench is third in the league in Net Rating (10.2) and they are an underrated defensive team. The Warriors force a lot of deflections and blocks each game. In addition, no other team shares the basketball better than Golden State (30.9 assists per game).
This is only one game but the Warriors system orchestrated by head coach Steve Kerr and their elite play on both ends of the floor will keep them near the top of the West without Curry.