Here we go again.
Let me preface that barring health, though that is in doubt more than ever, the Golden State Warriors should win the championship rather handily regardless of whatever offensive and defensive system they choose to run. There is simply too much talent that meshes too well at once. They are an unstoppable force that was built to break the game of basketball and makes even the greatest moments seem boring and expected. On Thursday night, in Stephen Curry’s greatest shooting slump of all time combined with one rivaled by Klay Thompson, the Warriors fell 94-87 to the Chicago Bulls.
The back-to-back loss was the first since April of 2015, but it wasn’t important. Given what should right itself across a course of a season, or a seven-game series, the Warriors would win this game 90 percent of the time. The issue remains the how of the loss. I wrote this back in December.
Steve Kerr has not so much refused to put Curry in the Draymond PNR but has seemingly saved it for the big moments. That’s all well and good except for the fact there’s been little done in those said moments. And if it is “unleashed” it comes when Curry isn’t in the right mindset to let the shot fly. Sports, human movement, and all things in life work off how comfortable you can be at any time. You can’t just unwind Steph and watch him rail 30 footers off the dribble because he’s done it before. This isn’t 2K.
Kerr seems to have taken this type of firepower for granted, thinking that’s it’s as easily accessible as inserting a bench player in a home game for a single defensive stop. Not all players are made the same. Kerr’s background as a role player has helped him vibe with everyone from all backgrounds but has also now stunted what is Curry’s spotlight as the primary ballhandler. Forget getting Ian Clark, Andre Iguodala, David West, and Zaza Pachulia in rhythm. They can play off of Curry. Curry should not be playing off of them.
Again, if the Warriors get Durant back for the postseason at around 85 percent, they should win the NBA Finals regardless of what happens to this offense. But to truly achieve a level of historic greatness, Kerr will have to trust that his superstar, one of the top players in the game and greatest shooter of all time, can put the team on his back whenever he damn well chooses.