The Golden State Warriors entered the 2017-18 NBA season with the goal of winning back-to-back NBA championship titles. However, after being hit by multiple injuries, they failed to secure the No. 1 seed and only finish as the second-best team in the Western Conference with a 58-24 record. Stephen Curry, the Warriors’ main man, is currently unable to help his team in the first round of the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs due to an MCL sprain.
Even without Stephen Curry, the Warriors manage to take control of their series with the Spurs, who are also playing without their superstar, Kawhi Leonard. However, things will be different in the following rounds where they could potentially face the Anthony Davis-led New Orleans Pelicans and the James Harden-led Houston Rockets. If Curry won’t return 100 percent healthy, Max Kellerman of ESPN believes Golden State won’t make it to the NBA Finals.
“They’re not getting out of the West. I didn’t think they will get out of the West versus the Rockets anyway.”
The absence of Curry undeniably made the Warriors vulnerable to powerhouse teams who want to dethrone them as Western Conference champions. The Warriors may have been the top favorite team to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy this season. But with opposing “Super Teams” finally showing good chemistry, they need to unleash their full strength to gain full authority in the West.
Even if Stephen Curry manages to return in the Western Conference Finals, Kellerman doubts he can immediately find his rhythm and make a huge impact for the Warriors, knowing that he just recovered from a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee. ESPN‘s Stephen A. Smith opposed Kellerman’s opinion, saying that a 100 percent Curry will show up in the 2018 NBA Playoffs.
Also, Smith believes Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant will further boost their performance in order to fill the absence of Stephen Curry, especially on the offensive ends of the floor. As of now, Curry is still in the rehabilitation process and recently traveled with the team for Game 3 and 4 in San Antonio, per Mark Medina of The Mercury News.
Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr has already officially ruled Curry out in the first-round, but there is a growing optimism that he can finally play in the second-round. Curry is currently happy with the progress of his recovery, and he’s expected to be reevaluated by the team on Saturday.