Home / Sports / NBA Playoffs 2019: Stephen Curry, Warriors reminds us that Kevin Durant is more of a luxury than a necessity

NBA Playoffs 2019: Stephen Curry, Warriors reminds us that Kevin Durant is more of a luxury than a necessity

After defeating the Portland Trail Blazers, 110-99, on Saturday to take a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals, the Golden State Warriors have now won four consecutive playoff games without Kevin Durant. If you count the brave victory in Game 5 against the Rockets, in which Durant missed most of the second half, they have essentially won five consecutive playoff games without Durant.

Now, let's flip the script. Let's say it was Stephen Curry, instead of Durant, who got hurt against the Rockets and missed the rest of Game 5 and the subsequent four games. Are the Warriors still 5-0 in that span? Think before you answer, and do not make the lazy decision by laughing at the idea that a basketball team could be better, or at least largely unaffected, without the best player in the world.

Really think about it.

Are the Warriors 5-0 if it's Durant playing instead of Curry?

From the moment that Durant spoke for the first time with the Warriors in 2016, fans and the media have been obsessed with the "Curry or Durant" debate. Whose team is it? Who is the best player? On one level, these are meaningless questions. Golden State has both. Who cares which one is better? But on another level, they might not have both for long. Most people think that Durant left this summer, and if that proves to be true, the question of what this team of Warriors is, and what it can be, without it is very important.

"Put it this way: they will be the favorites to win the title while Durant is there," a league executive told CBS Sports recently. "Without Durant, I do not think they're favorites, I do not know who it would be, it would be pretty open, I think, we'll have to see summer fade away, but Golden State still be very good, but not the favorite in my opinion. We're talking about Kevin Durant. "

To be fair, we're also talking about Stephen Curry, who has now scored 207 points in 213 minutes since Durant fell to Houston. Do you have any idea how ridiculous that is? That's 46.6 points for 48 minutes, the duration of an NBA game. When you look at what is happening to Damian Lillard in this series, watching him disappear under the weight of the constant traps and double teams of the Warriors, it only makes you appreciate Curry's greatness even more.

After all, Curry has been seeing that kind of defense for the past six years, the same defense that can make one of the 10 or 15 best players in the world practically invisible, and still manages to do what he has done. Two MVPs One of the only unanimous votes in the history of the NBA. An amazing 1,578 scored 3 points, with 43 percent shooting, in the last five seasons, including an NBA record of 402 in 2016 before Durant appeared. A score title. An average score of 26.5 PPG.

The most important thing is that the Warriors won a championship when it was only Curry who led the charge. Next season, they won an NBA record of 73 games and went to Game 7 of the Finals. And still, somehow, there is the idea that Curry and the Warriors "need" Durant to win. They do not. This has been proven in a hundred different ways. Are you ready for this? In the last 31 games that the Warriors have played with Curry and without Durant, they are 30-1.

You can trace all this from when Durant arrived in 2016. Since then, in the 37 games that Curry has played without Durant, the Warriors have a 33-4 record. That's better than a pace of 73 victories in an NBA season. During that same period of time, when Durant has played without Curry, the Warriors have a record of 28-18. It's a rhythm of 49 wins.

From the moment the Warriors embarked on this postseason, there has been this kind of narrative of the "last hurray" attached to his career, as if to suggest that when and if Durant leaves all this, it will end. What evidence is there that such a notion is remotely accurate? I'll give you a clue: There's none. In fact, 100 percent of the evidence points to the opposite: that when it comes to this team of Warriors, whenever Stephen Curry is present, Kevin Durant is more a luxury than a necessity.

People will not take it this way, but this is not a blow to Durant, who is clearly one of the best basketball players of all time. The simple truth is that Curry is also one of the best players in history, and is restricted with Durant. And when Curry is even relatively moderate, there's something different about the Warriors. Something not quite quantifiable but real palpable.

After Game 2, Seth Curry said what many people have been thinking, that Warriors are harder to protect without Durant. It is true. Everyone moves more. Share more It is around less. There is an inclusiveness to an attack directed by Curry, a cheerful, almost casual energy that filters through the team like sugar at a birthday party. Yes, Curry is a monster that plays off the ball, running as part of Reggie Miller's reincarnation. There is no doubt about that.

But the curry with the ball is a completely different beast. Curry completely unleashed as a creator of games outside of practice, like the head of a snake fighter increasingly voracious from all angles, is the most dangerous weapon the NBA has seen since Michael Jordan, while the Warriors, by extension, with or without Durant, they are the most dominant team since those Bulls.

We have been reminded that these last five games.

And if Durant decides to leave this summer, it would be wise not to forget it.

Source link