Even with a hobbled Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors can still win an NBA Championship.
So, how good are the Warriors without KD? The Warriors, without KD, even if he misses the remainder of the playoffs, will still remain title contenders. Which was evident as the Warriors overcame the Houston Rockets in Game 6 to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
However, most forget how good the Warriors were without KD or even DeMarcus Cousins. As a quick flashback, Klay Thompson, in the 2016 playoffs, averaged 14 points on 42 percent from 3-point range. He is recognized as maybe the second greatest shooter of all-time.
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Stephen Curry, before KD arrived with the Warriors, won his second MVP and was averaging 30.1 points per game on 90 percent from the free throw line, 45.4 percent from 3-point range, and had a 50 percent shooting from the field. All the while averaging 6.7 assists per game. A feat that has never been replicated.
Draymond Green was well recognized as a heck of a player and an all-star before KD got to the Warriors. He averaged 14 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game. While having a 49 percent field goal percentage and shooting 38.8 percent from the 3-point line. He was the first player in NBA history to average over seven assists per game while winning the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.
The Warriors win in Game 5 against the Rockets demonstrated how good the Warriors can play without KD. It also shows why the Rockets couldn’t beat the Warriors. And why they have a chance of winning a championship without KD. And the Warriors win in Game 6 only confirmed this.
In Game 6, the Warriors were playing clutch defense on Harden and made it difficult for him to score late in the game. James Harden also didn’t show up big, when it mattered most. He scored just three points in the last seven minutes of the game.
Stephen Curry, on the other hands, is inherently a clutch player. He is not only more a threat from 3-point range than Harden, but he can also hit it from deeper. He is also can be a spot shooter and is a threat to score without the ball. He is also a hell of a facilitator and decision maker of the offensive end of the court. For this reason, Curry is harder to stop than Harden.
Without KD playing, it allowed Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond get the ball more often and to perform better offensively. Especially Thompson, who performs substantially better without KD on the floor.
Without KD, no matter who they face in the Western Conference Finals (Denver or Portland), the Warriors will likely make it to the NBA Finals. However, beating the Raptors, Bucks, or 76ers is a completely different animal. The Warriors can maybe beat the Raptors, however, they may not beat the Bucks. And if the 76ers make it to the Finals and Joel Embiid is healthy, the 76ers will beat the Warriors without KD.
Even if KD leaves the Warriors, the Warriors are a threat to continue to win titles. If Durant leaves, the Warriors will likely give Thompson and max extension. And in two years, Draymond Green’s contract expires. If they elect to move on, it could allow this team to build differently around the Splash Brothers.
The Golden State Warriors have shown countless times that they can beat any team without Kevin Durant. The Warriors are 31-10 without KD since the 2016 season.
Unless KD went to the Lakers, the Golden State Warriors are likely winning the Western Conference next season.
"“Higher guys are (expletive) giants. That was an unbelievable victory tonight.”"
So, how good are the Warriors without KD? They are a giant of an opponent and Champions.