When Stephen Curry hurt his knee during Monday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, the hope was that he would be able to return for the start of the playoffs. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Coach Steve Kerr revealed on Sunday that the Golden State Warriors will play their first round game without their two-time MVP point guard.
Steve Kerr on Steph: "There's no way he's playing in the first round."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) March 25, 2018
For Warriors fans, that’s a little bit scary. The team is absolutely strong enough that they should win their first round series (and their second round series, for that matter) with Curry. In fact, they should probably win those series’ easily, and still be quite competitive in the Western Conference Finals.
But the margin for error is dramatically reduced when the face of the franchise is sidelined, and that is painfully apparent right now. Even without Curry, the team has three All-Stars in Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, yet all three of them are currently sidelined.
While that triumvirate should all return within the next week or so, it’s a reminder of how fragile the hopes of a season can be. Without Curry, the team is only one medium injury away from having a championship season end far too early.
Still, Kerr remains endlessly confident in his squad, and for good reason. Speaking at the Warriors’ practice on Monday, Kerr was quick to remind everyone on hand that this is still an elite team, with or without their point guard.
The obvious message from Steve Kerr today: Confidence.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 26, 2018
"Regular season or playoffs, we can beat anybody without Steph."
The full quote pic.twitter.com/hLuPM9Aeze
“Frankly, I don’t need solace,” Kerr said. “I watched this team two years ago without Kevin win playoff games without Steph . . . So we know — and that team was different than now, but we didn’t have Kevin Durant. So we’re perfectly capable of beating anybody — regular season or playoffs, we can beat anybody without Steph.”
Kerr is, of course, right. While the team would not be favored in a seven-game series with the Houston Rockets unless fully healthy, they are capable of winning that series, and any other series. And, thankfully, their championship window is open far beyond this season, something they’re fully aware of when rehabbing their most popular player.
Joe Lacob is "hopeful" Steph will be back by the end of the first round but: “We’re going to be conservative because he’s far too valuable to the franchise.”— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) March 26, 2018
With a slew of dangerous teams jockeying for playoff position, the Warriors are likely to meet a game adversary in round one. Even though they should win without Curry, it will take a strong effort. And with Curry out for those games, it certainly would seem that the team has no choice but to find a roster spot for Quinn Cook.