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sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: Steph Curry’s twisted ankle is a cruel twist of fate for the Warriors

o BANG/Kurtenbach: Steph Curry’s twisted ankle is a cruel twist of fate for the WaAllen

BANG/Kurtenbach: Steph Curry’s twisted ankle is a cruel twist of fate for the Warriors


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From: (Allen)
Subject: BANG/Kurtenbach:_Steph_Curry’s_twisted_ankle_is
Date: Fri, 8 Mar 2024 19:47:08 -0800
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 by: Allen - Sat, 9 Mar 2024 03:47 UTC

Kurtenbach: Steph Curry’s twisted ankle is a cruel twist of fate for the
Golden State Warriors: Steph Curry's ankle injury throws the short and
long-term future of the Warriors into serious question.

>Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) winces in pain as he hobbles
off the court injured in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls,
Thursday, March 7, 2024, at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl
Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

PUBLISHED: March 8, 2024 at 11:16 a.m. | UPDATED: March 8, 2024 at 12:05

It was a cruel twist of fate, that twisting of Steph Curry’s ankle.

Because for a moment, between the start of Wednesday’s game against the
Milwaukee Bucks and the first 44 minutes of Thursday’s matchup with the
Bulls, the Warriors looked like the team maximizing its potential.

The squad was healthy. The rotations were right. The Warriors looked
like they knew what they were doing out there on the court. You would
have been forgiven for letting your imagination run with the possibilities.

But you need to pull it back now that Curry is on the shelf.

The Warriors’ superstar twisting his ankle, again, throws a Warriors
season that was starting to come into focus back into the blender.

And now the Warriors’ season isn’t just on the line — the franchise’s
future is, too.

As of Friday morning, we do not know how long Curry will be out. Given
that we’ve seen him twist his ankle countless times before, it’s fair to
guess that he will miss some time, though. A week, two, more? We’ll see.

But time is the one thing the Warriors do not have.

Not if they want to find that elusive “other level” they believe they have.

Not if they want to avoid the play-in tournament.

The truth has always been so obvious it can go without saying, but let’s
say it anyway:

These Warriors are nothing without Curry.

That sum-of-all-parts mentality Steve Kerr preaches? Well, there’s a
critical part to that machine, and he wears No. 30.

The Warriors’ offense revolves around him. An entire style of basketball
evolved from him.

This team cannot progress without him. At best, they can tread water.

You cannot prepare for injuries, but this threat always loomed for the

With a lineup constantly in flux, they built a team that couldn’t jell
for the first four months of the season.

They finally found something at the end of January: Draymond Green at
center and, not long after, rookie Brandin Podziemski as Curry’s running
mate in the backcourt.

Of course, the lineup couldn’t possibly be constant. It’s the NBA.
Andrew Wiggins was away from the team for four games, returning for
Wednesday’s game. But the results of the switch were unimpeachable. The
Warriors, after Thursday night’s loss, are 14-6 since Jan. 27, Green’s
first day back in the starting lineup following his mid-season
suspension. Their ideal starting lineup is 6-2.

The Warriors have 20 games remaining this season, with only eight of
those games at home. No matter how narrow or loose your definition, this
is the home stretch, and it features three games with the Mavericks
(just above the Warriors in the standings) and two with the Lakers (just

The best-case scenario for the Warriors is that Curry is on the shelf
for a few games, and the Warriors do well without him (the Dubs’ play
amid Curry’s knee injury last season would be a good example of that.)
He returns to a team that has not picked up any more injuries, and
there’s enough time between that point and the end of the regular season
(April 14) to re-establish this team’s best form.

This best-case scenario still features the play-in tournament. In all
likelihood, the Warriors will still have to win two games to advance
into the “real” playoffs.

That’s the same as the worst-case scenario.

But there are larger implications with come with the second option.

If we have seen the last of Curry for a while; if we have already seen
the best basketball the Warriors have played this season, there are
serious repercussions for the future of the team.

Warriors ownership has made no secret of its goal to not pay the
league’s luxury tax next season.

And that makes sense. According to Salary Swish, the Warriors have paid
$185.2 million in luxury tax this season — for a play-in tournament
team. I’m no financial advisor, but I don’t think Joe Lacob and company
are getting a great return on their investment there.

With the players they have under contract next season—a list that
doesn’t include Klay Thompson, Chris Paul, or Gary Payton II—they’re
already $2.6 million over the tax threshold. If Payton accepts his $9.1
million player option—and he should—you can add that to the tally.

Even if the Warriors let Paul walk and re-sign Thompson to a contract
that pays him 50 percent of his current deal, you would have a team that
would be well over the second luxury tax apron again.

Which brings us to the big question — one that needed to be answered in
the final 20 games but might become a forever mystery: Is this a team
worth the cost of running back?

The Warriors needed these final weeks of the season to make a statement
— to tell ownership and the league that this team might have struggled
early but is now ready to contend in a loaded Western Conference.

That can’t happen without Curry. And even a minimal absence knocks the
short and long-term trajectory of this team off-kilter.

That’s what happens when the gravitational force that holds this whole
operation together — the star of stars in a league defined by them —
goes away.

At some point, Curry will return. In the meantime, the Warriors are
going to make a mess. That’s unavoidable.

And, as he has been asked so many times before in his career, Curry will
eventually be asked to clean it up.

We’ll see if he has enough time to do it.

sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: Steph Curry’s twisted ankle is a cruel twist of fate for the Warriors


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