The Golden State Warriors entered the 2018-19 NBA season as the heavy favorite to win the NBA championship title. Aside from retaining their core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green, the Warriors also managed to upgrade their roster with the acquisition of All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins in the recent free agency. Though Cousins is still recovering from an Achilles injury, he is expected to join the Warriors when the real battle begins in the Western Conference Playoffs.
Earlier this season, the Warriors faced some struggles, especially when they lost two of their superstars, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, to injury. Curry already missed 10 games due to a strained left groin, while Green didn’t play in the last five games because of a toe soreness. Luckily, after going on a four-game losing streak, the Warriors responded with three consecutive wins thanks to the explosive performances of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.
In their recent victory against the Orlando Magic, Durant finished with 49 points, six rebounds, nine assists, two blocks, and two steals while Thompson added 29 points, five rebounds, and two blocks. Though they already found a way to win without Curry and Green, Durant admitted that it felt “uncomfortable” not having both superstars on their team.
“It’s not comfortable playing without them,” Durant said, via ESPN. “They bring too much to the table to say that. But we’re just trying to figure out ways to be effective, each one of us on the court, when we’re on the court. I think Coach has been trying to do a good job of mixing and matching the lineups and putting guys in position to be successful individually. And we’re trying to rely on our defense more so than anything when we got — we’re missing 30 points from Steph and any given night.”
Kevin Durant drops 49 on the Magic. He's so good -- he's just mad he didn't get 50. https://t.co/5dMvE4VpOV— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) November 27, 2018
Without one of their best scorers, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant said that the Warriors need to double their effort on the offensive end of the floor. Before going down with an injury, Curry is averaging 29.5 points, 6.1 assists, and five rebounds on 51.5 percent shooting from the field and 49.2 percent shooting from the field. Meanwhile, according to Durant, what the Warriors are missing with Draymond Green is his defense, incredible passing skills, and rebounding.
Aside from playing without Curry and Green, one of the major reasons behind the Warriors’ struggle is the new 14-second reset on the shot clock. Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr said that the new rules affected how they approach possessions and forced them to change how they run offensive sets.