The Golden State Warriors: Overcoming Injuries and Struggles
After an intense wait, the Golden State Warriors finally welcomed Klay Thompson back to their lineup, only to face another setback as Draymond Green will be sidelined for the next two weeks. Green’s absence is due to a calf injury that is related to a bulging disc in his lower back. The Warriors have been dealing with multiple challenges this season, including Steph Curry’s shooting struggles and a slip in their standings in the Western Conference.
Warriors’ January Struggles
Since the start of the new year, the Warriors have faced significant challenges. Despite Thompson’s return, the team has been struggling to find its rhythm. Currently, they hold a 31-12 record and have slipped from the top spot in the Western Conference to the 2nd position. The Phoenix Suns have seized the #1 seed, taking advantage of the Warriors’ recent struggles. In their last 10 games, the Warriors have posted a disappointing 4-6 record after starting the season strong with a 27-6 record.
Nonetheless, the Warriors still boast the second-best record in the NBA. With odds of +475 to win the 2022 NBA championship, they remain a strong contender in the eyes of many, trailing only the Brooklyn Nets on the futures board. The recent injury to the Nets’ Kevin Durant may shake up the competition.
Draymond Green’s Injury and Impact
The absence of Draymond Green, a veteran power forward for the Warriors, has been felt throughout January. Green has been dealing with a calf injury, which has been linked to a bulging disc in his back. An MRI revealed the disc injury, and subsequent compensatory movements due to the pain caused Green to develop the calf issue. The Warriors are taking a cautious approach with Green’s recovery, keeping his long-term health in mind.
While Green’s scoring average of 7.9 points per game may seem modest, his contributions extend far beyond points on the scoreboard. He provides an average of 7.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game, showcasing his versatility and playmaking ability. Green’s impact goes beyond his statistics; he acts as the glue that holds the team together. Known for his aggressive style of play, Green’s defensive prowess and tenacity on the court make him a valuable asset to the team.
Often referred to as the “bad cop” to Curry’s “good cop,” Green’s presence is felt both physically and mentally by opponents. He dives into the midst of battles, irritating opponents and getting under their skin. Green’s fierce attitude and physicality make him a feared enforcer. Opposing teams think twice before attempting to interfere with Curry or take him out of the game, fearing the retaliation Green may deliver.
The Warriors, without Green, will inevitably face challenges, but they will rely on their deep bench to fill the void left by his absence.
Bench Players: Otto Porter Jr. and Jonathan Kuminga
With Green sidelined, the Warriors will turn to their bench for support. One player who will have an opportunity to shine is Otto Porter Jr., the backup power forward. Porter has contributed significantly off the bench, averaging 8.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game this season. He displayed his potential in a noteworthy performance against the Utah Jazz on New Year’s Day, narrowly missing a triple-double with 20 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.
Rookie Jonathan Kuminga, a 6-foot-8 power forward, will also see increased playing time in Green’s absence. Initially, Kuminga had limited action, averaging just 11 minutes per game in the first half of the season. However, the Warriors took a bold step by selecting him with the seventh overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Kuminga chose to bypass the NCAA and instead played in the NBA G League for the Ignite team, where he showcased his skills, averaging 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game.
The Warriors’ decision to invest in Kuminga demonstrated their belief in his potential and his ability to make an impact on the court. With more playing time, Kuminga will have the opportunity to further develop and contribute to the team’s success.
The Golden State Warriors have faced their fair share of challenges in the 2021-2022 NBA season. Injuries to key players, such as Draymond Green and the continued shooting struggles of Steph Curry, have affected the team’s performance. Despite these obstacles, the Warriors maintain the second-best record in the league and remain strong contenders for the NBA championship.
1. How long is Draymond Green expected to be out due to his calf injury?
Draymond Green is expected to miss approximately two weeks as he recovers from his calf injury. However, his progress will be re-evaluated after this period to determine if additional recovery time is necessary.
2. Who will replace Draymond Green in the Warriors’ lineup?
The Warriors will rely on their bench players, such as Otto Porter Jr. and Jonathan Kuminga, to fill the void left by Draymond Green’s absence. Both players have shown promise and will have opportunities to contribute during Green’s recovery.
3. How does Draymond Green’s absence impact the Warriors’ chances of winning a championship?
Draymond Green’s absence certainly poses challenges for the Warriors. His defensive skills, playmaking abilities, and leadership on the court are integral to the team’s success. However, the Warriors have a deep roster and will need other players to step up and contribute to maintain their championship aspirations.
4. How has Klay Thompson’s return impacted the Warriors?
Klay Thompson’s return has been a positive development for the Warriors. It brings back a skilled shooter and valuable player to the lineup. However, the team is still finding its rhythm with Thompson back on the court, and his impact will continue to evolve as he regains his form and adjusts to playing after a long absence.
5. Are the Warriors still considered contenders for the NBA championship despite recent struggles?
Yes, despite their recent struggles, the Golden State Warriors are still considered strong contenders for the NBA championship. The team possesses a talented roster, including stars like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, along with a deep bench that can contribute significantly. Their record and odds reflect their standings among the top teams in the league.