Remember when Stephen Curry's ankles were so injury prone that Bill Simmons, in his annual trade value column, wrote:
(Curry) Fell 15 spots from last year's list purely for "All right, what's really going on with Curry's right ankle?" reasons...So what's the answer? Is this a potential Grant Hill situation? Do the Warriors have the worst trainer/medical situation on the planet? Is Nike slipping? Are Curry's ankles made of papier-mâché? If there was a pay-per-view special of Curry getting an MRI on his right ankle, followed by Phoenix's medical staff breaking down the results, I think I'd pay $49.99 to watch it.
I found that quote in an old piece from GSoM Boss Nate Parharm. Nate's article was written March 9th, 2012. A little less than three years ago. I bring this up mostly because the article ends like this:
The Warriors are not in a good place right now, as they work to play their way out of a lottery pick to continue the cycle of mediocrity.
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For the first time this year, Stephen Curry sat out a game.
Over the course of his first few years in the league, we grew so accustomed to the sight of a hobbled Curry limping his way through screens and grimacing in pain that we treat his recent durability as something to be cherished and protected like an only child.
Seriously, if this was Greg Popovich's Spurs, Curry would have rested a good four or five games by now just to keep him fresh. Of course, it has helped that he is only averaging 33.2 minutes per game this season, a mark which would be a career-low were it not for the injury-ravaged 2011-2012 season. The same season, incidentally, that inspired the words printed above. Paper-mache ankles and all.
Ready for some #HotBasketballAnalysis? CURRY WILL BE FINE! Let's all take a step back and allow him to take a game off without completely losing our damned minds.
Okay, here's another serious piece of #HotBasketballAnalysis: I totally just said that to keep my soul from crumpling inwards on itself and crawling up into a fetal position of fear and doubt.
Because if we have learned one thing as Warriors fans, it is that we should always expect the worst. "Embrace failure," has been the closest thing to a motto that we've ever had.
"We Believe?" No. Torn apart. Fail
"Oh man, you know Sprewell looks NICE!" hahahahahahaha no. Fail.
"Don Nelson seems like a man who knows how to enjoy a single glass of scotch and shut it down before things get out of hand." Mmmmm, I can smell the cigars from here.
"Mullin will totally succeed as the GM and everyone will get along!"
"Joe Lacob and Mark Jackson can co-exist!"
Anyways, you get the point.
But the biggest, scariest, most god-awful fear that we all have--don't lie, you've thought this secretly multiple times per game--is that Curry's ankles won't hold up. That one day we'll wake and find that these past two and a half years have been a wonderful, miraculous dream, never destined for enduring success.
This is the death-fear that wakes us in the darkness of night and leaves us shaking.
As for the game, well, it was strange.
The guys came out of the gate firing, scoring 38 points in the first quarter, but then went COMPLETELY cold. After outscoring Indiana by 12 in that first frame, they proceeded to go -13, -2 and -3, scoring 19, 21, and 20 points in those subsequent quarters. The offense lacked the precision and flow and movement that we have come to expect from this Steve Kerr coached squad. Granted, Indiana has some huge dudes out there on the floor, and they are exceedingly well coached, but still. We've seen the Warriors manage just fine against big, defensive-minded teams before. (Well, I guess not so much against Chicago. Or, well, Memphis, and...Shit.)
Too many times guys looked confused. Spacing was off. Everything was just OFF. Even the various league scoreboards were confused at halftime.
Steph Curry being out is messing up everything. Scoreboard: IND 56, GSW 55; http://t.co/Y4k8wPYJ0X: IND 58, GSW 55; ESPN: IND 54, GSW 51.— Rusty Simmons (@Rusty_SFChron) February 23, 2015
With a little over two minutes left in the first half, the Warriors ran an out of bounds set that perfectly summed up the night. [[Click the video button next to: Warriors Turnover: Shot Clock (T#5)]] Confusion as to who was where lead to an errant pass, leading to a badly forced secondary pass, eventually leading to a Klay Thompson hope-and-prayer shot that hit the upper backside of the backboard.
But the larger question, of course, is what next? Can Steph stay healthy? Are we, as Warriors fans, all delusional and unprepared for success? Have we been so conditioned by the unending "glory years" of failure?
We have a successful team now, how do we act? Where do we put our hands? Do we smile when people compliment our coaching staff and team chemistry?
HEEEELLLLP I'M LOST IN A SEA OF EMOTION
Now I know how this Kentucky fan feels.
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When I found that old article from Nate, I tweeted at him.
@BramKincheloe Oh man that is weird...I need to stop living in fear of all these Warriors demons and what-ifs lol— Nate P (@NateP_SBN) February 23, 2015
"Oh man that is weird...I need to stop living in fear of all these Warriors demons and what-ifs lol"
Of course the reality of the situation is that Curry will be fine and everything will be fine and we have to find ourselves some goddamn paper bags so we don't hyperventilate, but still...
This team is deeper and stronger than perhaps any other Warriors team in history. They can weather injuries.
BUT - the offense is so nuanced, so predicated upon movement and control, that any minor change throws the wheel off-kilter. Creates rippling effects. When Bogut missed time earlier this year, it took a while to find the flow again. And now that Steph is out, they'll have to find themselves again.
Let's all remember this isn't 2012. The dream is not over. The dream has only begun.