Last summer, GQ's Zach Baron spent time with Warriors forward Kevin Durant after a season in the Bay Area. Some compelling details emerged from the film, including Durant's feelings about the Golden State star hierarchy.
"Steph Curry is the face of the franchise, and that helps me, because I do not have to," said Durant. Baron. "I do not want to be the leader, I'm not a leader, I'm bad when I say:" Stand behind me and follow me. "No. I'm one of those guys who says," Let's do it together. I do not mind being on the front line, but let's come and do together. "That's my way of leading, I'm leading by example."
After Monday night's game against the Pelicans, the Warriors will need much more leadership from Durant until the month of December, either by force or for example. For a team widely considered to be the favorite of the title, Golden State has not been seen as usual. And that was before Curry fell with an ugly ankle injury.
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Curry landed awkwardly at the foot of E & # 39; Twaun Moore near the end of regulation, roll his right ankle, the same ankle That caused him so much trouble years ago and he finally helped the Warriors by how cheap it was to keep him and what he allowed the office to do, and limping on the floor to the locker room. Curry was seen using crutches to walk to the X-ray room at the Smoothie King Center, and although the results were negative, he will miss a large part of Golden State's schedule in December. This certainly is not something that the Warriors fans wanted to see, but coach Steve Kerr could use Curry's absence to push Durant and the rest of his players in the right direction.
It's not that the Warriors (19-6) are having trouble winning They do not have to play their best game against most opponents to add to the "W" column. They proved it once again in a forthcoming victory against the pelicans, erasing a 20-point half-time deficit to win by double digits. But the killer instinct has been mysteriously absent. A Golden State player has been sent off in three consecutive games. Durant is at the center of the concern for composure with three expulsions in his last 18 games, and his last most recent outing comes after a verbal altercation with DeMarcus Cousins.
"We have to stay in those situations", Durant said after the Warriors' victory over the Pelicans. "Then to myself, I can not let anyone … not get involved with that kind of thing, I just have to stay locked up, concentrate on the game, the most important thing is the game."
And that's where Durant's head should be. He is still a monster of efficiency and one of the best guards in the league, but he is also turning the ball over and scoring less than most of his career. He has strangely played the role of WWE Heel in battles against Russell Westbrook, an official of the NBA and Cousins. The Warriors are defending champions, Durant is an MVP of the Finals and the extra things are just a distraction. These problems are manufactured: Curry's ankle is a real problem.
ESPN's Chris Haynes reports Curry's injury will be reevaluated in two weeks, which would cover a span of about half a dozen games against the Hornets, Pistons, Trail Blazers, Mavericks, Lakers and Grizzlies, with that last game against Memphis on December 20. If Golden State wants to play it safe, Curry could stay up until the Christmas Day showdown with the Cavs.
That would give Durant and his teammates eight games without the sniper, and although no one will feel bad because the Warriors lost only one MVP, that stretch could say a lot about what Curry has done this season. Golden State's net score is more than 10 points better with Curry on the court, and that number is even higher when Durant is evaluated when Curry plays and sits. This will not be Curry's highest score or death campaign, but he has been more comfortable than ever with who he is and what he needs to do.
The Warriors won 13 straight games last season when Durant was sidelined with a knee injury during parts of March and April. In that stretch, Curry averaged 27.5 points with 50.2 percent shooting (47.8 from the 3-point range), 8.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals. Durant now has the opportunity to lead his own career and put the Warriors in search and destruction mode.
It's fair to call Curry the "face of the franchise". Durant can not play that role (at least temporarily) if he is ejected from the game or concentrates on small disputes with his opponents. Of course, he is not the traditional leader who shouts in the circle and does not want to be. But he has always been a great player of baller. It's time for me to remember it.