Curry’s injury makes the Wild West untamed territory

Curry’s injury makes the Wild West untamed territory
December 23
19:04 2022

We are a third of the way through the 2022-23 NBA season and things have not gone according to plan for several teams. The most surprising team that has struggled so far this season is the reigning NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors currently sit in 11th place in the Western Conference at the time this article was written, and now they are dealing with a shoulder injury to Steph Curry that will have him out for several weeks.

If it wasn’t bad enough the Warriors were outside the top 10 in the west, now having to play without Curry for some time is going to put them in an even tougher spot. Curry suffered a partial dislocation of his left shoulder. The good news, if you can call it that, is that Curry will not need surgery to repair the damage.  

An MRI last week ruled out surgery, but he will need for the pain to subside before he can work on reestablishing strength and mobility in that shoulder. Surgery would have taken him out of the lineup for at least four months. This is not the news a Warriors team needed to hear as they are trying to find some chemistry as a team that is not playing that well.

“From what I know about shoulder injuries and situations like that, any time you can avoid surgery or anything like that it’s great news,” Curry said. “It’s the first time I’ve done it and those usually take a little longer than if it’s a recurring thing. Just gotta trust the plan that we have and do my work.

“Back end [of the recovery] should be a lot quicker than the front end from what I’ve been told. Hard to say [exactly how long I’ll be out] because it’s the first time I’ve done it. Just knowing it’s the first time I try to stay away from even me mentally trying to predict how long it’s gonna be. They’ll let me know.”

This is an unfortunate turn of events for Curry, who was having one of his best seasons ever, and the Warriors who need him more than ever. Curry is averaging 30 ppg, 6.8 ast. and 6.6 rebs, while shooting 50% from the field. And let’s not forget that Curry is 34 years of age and putting up these staggering numbers.  

The problem for the Warriors hasn’t been their starting five of Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney. They are outscoring opponents by 8.4 points per 100 possessions with Curry on the court, and they have been outscored by 9.8 per 100 without him. The problem lies when one of the starting five leaves the floor. The bench for the Warriors has vastly underperformed this season, which has contributed to their 2-13 road record. Statistically, the bench has been the worst in the entire league.

The Warriors have limped out to a 14-16 record. They have been the epitome of inconsistency so far this year. They must tighten things up if they wish to defend their championship from last year. Curry is still optimistic that they can turn things around before the year gets away from them.

“This is a very important stretch because you want to maintain as much positivity and belief in what we’re doing as possible and give ourselves a chance to finish the year strong,” said Curry. “Looking at that All-Star break, that sprint to the finish knowing that no team in the West has really separated themselves. So, we can talk ourselves into, ‘We’re still in good shape.’ But you still have to go out and be a consistent basketball team, and I think we can do that.”

Curry is somewhat correct about the separation in the West. The Memphis Grizzlies are currently the No. 1 seed in the West with a 19-10 record. However, the Warriors are only 5.5 games out of first place and just need to go on a good run to get back into contention.  

It’s other teams outside of the Grizzlies that have been performing well this season that the Warriors will have to overcome. The New Orleans Pelicans, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns round out the top four in the West and are all very competitive teams that will be a tough out with home court advantage in the playoffs.  

The Warriors also have to deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Blazers are playing better than anyone expected, and guard Anfernee Simons is establishing himself as a bonafide star in the NBA. The Mavericks will always be tough with Luka playing at an MVP level and if the Clippers get their stars fully healthy, they may be the best team in the league.

The Warriors may be in some serious trouble right about now. How they perform in the stretch while Curry is out is really going to make or break their season. Can Jordan Poole step up to the plate and perform to the level he did last year in the absence of Thompson? Can the Warriors bench finally start supporting the starting unit? There are so many questions that surround this Warriors team.

With their championship pedigree, the Warriors are one of the few teams in the league that can turn it around and make a run, but without Curry, it’s going to be tough. We still don’t know how he will perform when he comes back either, and his injury is one of those that can easily be reaggravated. I am betting they will at least make the playoffs; however, this may be the year of the young guns as several young players are showing that this may be their time. 

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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