Steve Kerr is publicly acknowledging what became painfully clear during the NBA Finals: Stephen Curry was struggling with injuries, and it affected both play-calling and execution.
Although Curry had some remarkable performances (the “I’m Back!” game in Portland comes to mind), there were other instances where he looked far less explosive than normal during the playoff run after he returned from his sprained MCL.
— CSNAuthentic (@CSNAuthentic) August 10, 2016
“We made a few adjustments in terms of play-calling and actions we tried to run,” Kerr said, referring to the adaptations Curry’s injuries forced on the offense. “But there’s only so much of that you can do.”
At that stage of the season, nearly all players are nursing some type of ailment, and admittedly there’s a lot of luck involved in which players are hampered with worse injuries than others.
Kerr isn’t making excuses, but just being honest about how Curry’s injuries affected this team. When a back-to-back MVP has a multitude of injuries, it makes an already tough task of winning a championship that much harder.
“He was banged up. But that’s not an excuse. It’s not an injury; it’s just the reality of the season and it kind of hit him at the wrong time, given that everything started in the playoffs and carried through,” Kerr said.
Curry missed 2 weeks of the playoffs with an MCL sprain, and despite his remarkable performance in his first game back in which he scored 17 points in overtime alone, he looked hampered at times as the playoffs prolonged.
It’s important to note that these injuries weren’t the result of pursuing 73 wins, like many critics seemed giddy to attribute it to in its immediate aftermath.
Many of those 73 wins were accomplished in such dominating fashion that Curry ended up sitting out numerous 4th quarters.
Curry only ranked 29th among qualified players in minutes per game last season with 34.2, so any indictments of Curry being overburdened are unfounded and simply asserted to fit a preconceived narrative that the team foolishly pursued a “meaningless” regular season record.
It’s both disrespectful as well as overly dramatic to say that 73 wins isn’t a fantastic accomplishment unless it comes with an NBA championship.
The season may not have ended the way they’d have wanted it to, but the team should be immensely proud of what they achieved.
Curry’s injuries were simply the result of a grueling season that all players have to endure, combined with some bad breaks.
His sprained MCL happened through slipping on a wet spot on the court in Houston. I fail to see how not pursuing 73 wins would have prevented that freak injury.
It takes a combination of talent and luck to win a championship in this league. Unfortunately, the Warriors didn’t catch as many breaks in 2016 as they did in 2015.
Kerr isn’t dodging responsibility or making excuses. He’s simply being honest that a big reason why the Warriors didn’t repeat as champions was due to the injuries Curry had.