Kurtenbach: The best-case scenario for the Warriors after Steph Curry’s injury

It’s easy to say that the Warriors’ season is obsessively over after Stephen Curry broke his left hand Wednesday night in the third quarter of a game against the Phoenix Suns.

I should now, I wrote that the team should use Curry’s injury as an excuse to tank.

(Perhaps I’m just thinking about all those LaMelo Ball pageviews.)

But even if this team is Curryless for weeks and seemingly hopeless for the remaining months of the campaign, I do think it’s fair to say that being ok with losing is not part of this organization’s DNA.

You don’t go to five straight NBA Finals unless you hate to lose. Perhaps more importantly, you don’t put butts in the seats of a brand new area by telling everyone you’re looking to lose.

The Dubs are going to try their best in the days, weeks, and months to come — with or without Curry — and we’ll see where the chips fall. And while there’s no doubt that you could get an incredible return on your chips right now if this team makes the playoffs this season, there is a best-case scenario that exists out there — one where the Warriors tread water while Curry is out and surge once he returns.

And while I don’t think that will come to pass, it’s worth explaining nonetheless. Here’s what needs to happen:

1. D’Angelo Russell thrives
(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

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This is the big key: Can the 23-year-old Russell — who averaged 21 points per game last season for Brooklyn on 31 percent usage — take his game to another level now that he will surely receive that kind of usage with the Warriors?

Or, more specifically, can he be a more efficient player and average 26, 27, even 30 points per game with a better than 55 percent effective field goal percentage?

One could argue that his career is trending that way, but before the Curry injury, it seemed unlike that kind of offensive output would be reached with the Warriors. Russell and Curry showed little chemistry in the three-and-a-half games they played together – at times, the backcourt pairing seemed to hinder the Warriors more …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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