It’s hard to ignore just how important Stephen Curry is to the Golden State Warriors. More specifically, his wobbly left ankle.
But first, the details:
On Thursday, there were conflicting reports. One report from the San Jose Mercury News nabbed Curry as questionable, while the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Curry was confident that he would play on Friday. But as I mentioned yesterday, questionable is the most accurate description of the situation.
On Friday, the San Jose Mercury News bumped Curry’s status up to a game-time decision. His teammates, well, were a bit more optimistic, specifically Jarrett Jack. But Jack isn’t a doctor, and truth be told, he can’t alter Curry’s status.
Those important details aside, Curry’s absence would spell doom for the Warriors. They’re already short-handed with David Lee on the shelf, and losing Curry would probably be the final straw whichever way you prefer slice the situation up. Rallying around an injury is sometimes an effective strategy–if it’s only one injury.
Two injuries to your two best players? Forget it.
Curry’s role in the Warriors’ offense is also much bigger than Lee’s. His shooting spaces the floor considerably, and the Nuggets have no choice but to devote multiple defenders to him, leaving open players and gaps for Curry’s teammates to fill. While not Lee, Carl Landry has and will suffice.
Without Curry, Golden State’s shooting wouldn’t be entirely ineffective. Klay Thompson is more than capable of knocking down shots. If he’s on, Jarrett Jack is a threat, and the same goes for Harrison Barnes. The difference between Curry and those three, however, is that Curry can create his own shot. A lightning quick release enables him to shoot over anyone–bigger or smaller. Jack and Barnes are better at creating his own shots in the paint, and Thompson relies on screens to get the majority of his open looks.
Sans Curry, the Warriors obviously aren’t in an ideal situation. With this short window opportunity to pounce on the Nuggets’ road weaknesses, Golden State needs all hands on deck, which means having Curry available.