Last spring, Kevin Durant went down with a knee injury, putting him in the sidelines towards the end of the 2017 regular season.
At the time, Warriors fans had a reason to panic, but they went on to go 16-1 in the playoffs to win it all that season. However, this time around, concerns are looking much deeper as not only that Durant is out due to a rib fracture, fellow stars like Klay Thompson (thumb) and Stephen Curry (ankle) are nursing injuries as well. Which is why the road to a possible third title in four seasons may look more difficult than ever. Here, we look at the challenges that the Warriors have to deal with if they plan on a title repeat:
Prior to the All-Star Weekend, Steve Kerr described the his wards as “mentally fried” as they were “limping to the finish line”. Who could blame them especially after going to three straight finals? It definitely takes a lot of mental toughness to go through three straight Finals, let alone one.
A New Challenger Has Arrived
The Houston Rockets are currently the No. 1 team in the NBA and they are 2-1 against the defending champs, clearly showing signs that they are not scared going against them. Right now, Houston is looking like a lock to the West’s top playoff seed, ensuring them home court advantage. If ever these two teams meet in the Western Conference Finals, the Rockets could definitely give Golden State a run for their money.
Injuries, injuries, injuries
Warriors superstar Stephen Curry is on pace to miss a whole lot of games since the 2012 season thanks to four ankle sprains that he sustained in three months. Fellow splash brother Klay Thompson is reportedly diagnosed to have a thumb fracture and Kevin Durant suffered a rib fracture. Injuries have proven to be costly for the Warriors as evidenced during the 2016 Finals.
It remains to be seen on how will the Warriors finish the season. After all, what does winning another championship mean if you don’t have to work hard for it?