Despite Kevin Durant’s absence for what is likely the rest of the regular season, the Golden State Warriors will still finish first in the West, because of the team’s big three from last season: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

Stephen Curry

With Kevin Durant’s ascension as the Warriors’ number one scoring option, people seem to forget just how dominant Steph Curry can be. Curry is a player who just last season was being hailed as the poster boy of the new NBA era, one that emphasizes three-point shooting above anything else. Curry was revolutionizing the way basketball was played in 2016, one 40-foot three-pointer at a time.

Need further proof of Curry’s dominance? Here’s his 2016-17 regular season numbers provided by NBA.com (apologies for the small font):

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Those numbers made NBA analysts and fans alike debate whether Curry’s 16-17 season was the greatest of all-time.

With Durant out, Curry has the ability to become the Warriors’ number one scoring option once again. It may take a few games of adjustment, but the back-to-back MVP has proven his worth as one of the league’s best superstars. The Warriors will be just fine with Curry stepping in as the team’s offensive leader for the time being.

Klay Thompson

Remember Klay Thompson’s 37-point third quarter last season? I do too!

Thompson, one of the league’s best pure shooters, now gets the opportunity to have even more touches on the offensive end. With Durant’s arrival, Thompson has been relegated to playing more off the ball, which has in turn helped him develop weaker links in his game. The crazy part about Thompson’s season, though, is how he’s virtually averaging the exact same numbers as last season. The Warriors’ coaching staff has to take credit for that. Somehow, even with Durant in town, Thompson hasn’t lost any shot attempts.

With Durant out, Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr will surely rely on Thompson for more offensive production.

Draymond Green

The only one of the four all-stars in Golden State’s starting lineup whose scoring production decreased is Draymond Green. Green makes up for his decreased scoring numbers in every way imaginable, collecting steals, blocks, assists, and rebounds. He’s the clear defensive anchor of this team.

With the incredibly versatile Draymond Green and a competent enough centre in Zaza Pachulia, this Warriors’ team has more than enough firepower to win the West.

If there’s any concern for Golden State, it’s the team’s lack of depth and rim protection. In the regular season, rim protection is not nearly as important compared to its impact in the playoffs. As for the team’s lack of depth, the Warriors’ starting lineup alone has enough talent to dominate opposing teams even when the bench has inevitable off nights.

Remember, Curry, Thompson, and Green were at the forefront of a team that won an NBA-record 73 regular season games. This team has more than enough talent to win the West, even without its prized offseason addition.

 

Image found on wikipedia.com. The photo of Stephen Curry found on Wikipedia is taken by Keith Allison.
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