While the return of Steph Curry lifted hearts and minds, there was clearly some rust that has to be knocked off - both for Curry himself as well as his team. You see, part of Curry’s self-deferential charm is how willing his is to get his teammates involved. Which is great. This is at the core of what has made the Warriors so successful but can also be tremendously frustrating - for like when Curry give up an open look at a three-pointer and swings it to Dragan Bender (and his 26% shooting percentage).
Curry was uncharacteristically cold from behind the arc in his first game back, shooting just 3 for 12; and while some of that can be attributed to the fact that he hasn’t played a game of competitive basketball since October, another factor is the newness of all this.
In the previous game the only player to ever share the court with Curry was Damion Lee (and maybe Jordan Poole?) - and you could tell. While Curry was moved off ball a lot, his teammates were missing many of the classic “relocation threes” that are Curry’s bread and butter.
When he was questioned about the wisdom of bringing Curry back amidst this lost season, coach Steve Kerr was quick to point towards the value gained by playing together before the offseason. From Wiggins to Paschall, to all the assorted role players in between, how well they work with Curry in the upcoming weeks will be very telling as to their future with this franchise.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (14-49) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (38-25)
WHEN: Saturday March 7, 2020; 5:30 pm PST
WHERE: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
INJURY UPDATE: Draymond Green (knee soreness) is questionable. Kevon Looney (hip soreness), Ky Bowman (ankle sprain), Alen Smailagic (quad contusion) and Klay Thompson (ACL rehab) are out.
As this difficult Golden State Warriors season mercifully spirals to an end, I’ve had my eye on the various sagas happening behind the walls of other franchises.
One of them in particular is unfolding in Philadelphia. The recent injuries to young phenoms Ben Simmons (back) and Joel Embiid (strained shoulder) have further flummoxed a 76ers organization that was already struggling to make the two stars fit together on the court.
Brad Botkin of CBS Sports wrote a fantastic insight into their dilemma:
Once seen as the co-star foundation of a future championship team, Embiid and Ben Simmons are suddenly a cautionary tale of the perils of ill-fitting talents.
When Embiid was out a few weeks back, all the talk was about how much different, and better, the Sixers looked with Simmons at the helm of a faster-paced, better-spaced attack.
When Simmons went out with a nerve impingement in his back that will reportedly keep him out at least two weeks, it was supposed to be Embiid's time to shine. He had a career-high 49 points in a recent win over the Hawks.
Now he'll be in street clothes along with Simmons for who knows how long after his MRI, which is scheduled for Thursday.
Some of the best NBA drama has been mined in these caves of confusion.
We are going to try something different this week. Shorter base preview, with a standalone feature article coming out later this morning - let us know how you like it!