There’s never a bad time for your Hall of Fame point guard to return to the lineup, but the Golden State Warriors getting Stephen Curry back couldn’t be coming at a better time.
Head coach Steve Kerr told reporters Saturday that the All-Pro guard has begun scrimmaging in practice as he continues to recover from a strained left groin suffered on Nov. 8 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Curry was re-examined on Saturday and could begin practicing sometime this week. The Warriors play the Orlando Magic on Monday before beginning a five-game road trip. The belief is Curry, who was also unharmed in a car accident Friday, could return during that road trip.
And though Golden State has won two straight, Curry’s return will be a sight for sore eyes in the Bay Area and for NBA betting Fans looking for some consistency.
The Warriors began the season 10-1, with Curry posting MVP-like numbers to the tune of 29.5 points on 51 percent shooting, 49 percent from deep and 6.1 assists. Both shooting percentages are career bests, even for the greatest shooter in league history and two-time league MVP.
Warriors Stumble Without Curry
Quinn Cook has been fine as a fill-in starter, averaging 14.0 points on 48 percent shooting in the past nine games. But Curry is Curry. He has the ninth best individual net rating in NBA, and at +13.5 it’s the highest on the Warriors.
No player in the NBA has a higher offensive rating (119.6), so even though the Warriors’ issues have come defensively, the offense is going to get a major boost when he returns.
Including the Milwaukee game in which Curry was injured, the Warriors have gone 4-6 and seen their lead in the Western Conference diminish. Three weeks in it appeared they would run away with the top seed in the conference, and now there are a half dozen teams within just a few games of that top spot.
Impact of Draymond Green’s Absence
Without Curry, the Warriors have had the 8th worst net rating, behind teams such as the Nets, Cavaliers and Wizards. With Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson in the fold the Warriors still have been middle of the pack on offense – though much worse than what they were with Curry – but the real issue has come on the defensive end.
And that’s because Draymond Green has had a lingering absence due to a toe injury. The Defensive Player of the Year candidate has been out since his team-issued one-game suspension for yelling at Durant in the locker room on Nov. 12, but the toe injury has kept him out much longer than initially expected.
He had an MRI last week, and while the results came back clean the fact that he had the MRI could be cause for concern. Still, he’s listed as day-to-day and also could return sometime during the road trip.
Warriors Remain the NBA Favorites
The Warriors are just fine without Curry and Green. Naturally, a dynasty’s biggest issue is that they’ve only barely got the Western Conference’s best record. Twenty-nine other teams would love to be in Golden State’s situation. As Kerr noted last week, this bump in the road has shown the Warriors what the “real NBA” is. It’s the first time in years that they’ve truly looked beatable. Still, looking beatable and being beatable are two different things.
This ugly stretch hasn’t moved the Warriors’ NBA Finals betting odds in the slightest at -200 and they’ve won their last two games in impressive fashion over playoff contenders in Portland and Sacramento.
And with Curry and Green closing in on returns – and DeMarcus Cousins still on track to come back at some point – the ugly days in Oracle may be coming to a close.