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Home / Sports / The dynasty that never was? NBA rivals see cracks in the armor of the warriors

The dynasty that never was? NBA rivals see cracks in the armor of the warriors

  Golden State Warriors Guard Stephen Curry responds at the end of the team's NBA basketball match against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, February 3, 2018 in Denver. The Nuggets won 115-108. (AP Photo / David Zalubowski)

David Zalubowski / Associated Press

Remember, when the Golden State Warriors were destined to govern and win the NBA for the foreseeable future, "not five, not six, not seven … "championships?

Ahh, such good times.

Forgive the past tense on this golden face, but the injured machete that cut off the four all-stars of warrior Steph Curry (sprained knee), Kevin Durant (broken ribs), Klay Thompson (broken thumb) and Draymond Green (aching shoulder, broken pelvis) ̵

1; the opposing coaches and executives are correcting their predictions about how long the current series of three NBA finals will run. While the majority still see them as favorites to repeat themselves as champions and win their third title in four years this year, they all contain a large when – as in when they are healthy, including their two-time league MVP, Curry.

Not only healthy on the ground, but healthy playing with full capacity.

"This may be the edge Houston needs," a Western conference scout said. "If [Curry] is not 100 percent, I mean." While Durant and Green returned on Thursday night and Thompson is expected to return sometime next week, the length of Curry's absence still needs to be determined – and considering he was not quite the same two years ago when he was after one With less sprained knee ligament playing again, one may wonder if he can reach nearly that 100 percent mark this spring ] "I would still prefer Golden State, but its depth is being questioned," said one Eastern Conference Executive with a championship in his resume. "I do not care what era you're talking about, it takes a bit of luck when it comes to health, they've had that in recent years, and the law of averages has increased a bit at the moment."

How long they will still be the team to beat the forward movement, the same leader believes, what we have seen this season – indifferent efforts along with the injuries – suggests that they at least begin their relentless delay as currently formed. If they manage to win yet another championship this season, they will see that they will catch at least one more .

"They are in the middle of their run, but they are descending," said the board. "They've been on the pole for four years, and now three, four years are fighting off."

<img class = "atom lazyImage lazy" itemprop = "contentUrl" src = "https://img.bleacherreport.net/img/article/media_slots/photos/002/787/494/0be942bc1506e8ae502f1d5e12cbce47_crop_exact.jpg?h= 53 & w = 80 & q = 70 & crop_x = center & crop_y = top "width =" 800 "height =" 533 "alt =" Klay Thompson has been out of the Warriors' lineup since breaking his right thumb since mid-March 19659013] Breaking the Warriors in mid-March after breaking his right thumb. Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

As Durant, a five-time All-NBA first-team, four-time top scorer and one-time MVP, signed up as a free agent two years in the team, the expectations were more than that. Adding KD to a team that already had a title and missed a Kyrie Irving Game 7 with a three-point lead had given experts and former champions alike a hegemony since the victory of Micha el Jordan-Bulls was no longer seen title in eight years.

"I'll predict now, over the next four years I will give them four rings," Mychal Thompson said about the flagship Warriors, 95.7 The Game, after the Warriors won the 2017 title. "Sometimes things come up and you can lose one, you do not want to get greedy, but I think they'll win four more over the next five years as long as they stay healthy, they're so young and so." good and well trained and so well run in the front office.

"As long as you remain humble, hungry and healthy, you will win four more."

The New York Times & # 39; Benjamin Hoffman did not go into details but suggested they had planted only the "seeds" of a dynasty with this second title.

It is not exactly clear what The [ 19659019] Danny Chau predicted anything other than something truly cosmic.

Thompson told B / R he sticks to his original prediction ("Yes … given good health .I always said that's the main thing that could prevent that."), But several league executives spoke last year more conservative than ever.

"Injuries are not He's the big balancing act in our sport," said the vice president of a playoff team at the Eastern Conference. "It's hard to see if that will affect their team in the long term, but Houston and Cleveland would have an absolute chance this year in a seven-man series."

 Though Nick Young and the Warriors Bank Ranks Third Most executives believe that Golden State does not have the quality of depth they had in previous seasons.

Although Nick Young and the Warriors Bank have the third-best point differential of some bank units in the league, some executives feel that Golden State does not really have the quality of depth they've had in previous seasons. Noah Graham / Getty Images

The biggest reason to ask if the warriors can go on to be the irresistible force of last spring – they were 16-1 in the postseason – both short and long term, is the Shelf life of curry and green. After the return of the ex-team from a third sprained ankle this season after three quarters of a game because of a sprained MCL, coach Steve Kerr said he did not expect him to play in the first round of the playoffs. And while each coach, manager and player talked about the Warriors getting through the first round without him, the consensus came to an end when it came to resuming him in the heat of later competition.

"Reintegration is more difficult than people believe, especially defensively," said a playoff-tied Western Conference GM. "When big players are out there, it's sometimes difficult to restore a rhythm."

An Eastern Conference scout added that he is skeptical that Warriors Bank is as good as it has been in the past, and that could prove to be a critical difference with so many ailing stars.

"I think they're in trouble, even if Steph comes back," the scout said. "They seem to have lost some bank depth, and the offensive efficiency of this unit has narrowed somewhat from last season as they fought at different times of the season rather than recently." To that end, the Warriors have lost nearly as many games this season as they have in their last two games, including seven of their last ten games, including a pair of back-to-backs. Regarding Curry, this is not his first injury. Ankle problems limited him to 26 appearances in his third season, and two years ago he suffered a sprained knee ligament in Game 4 of their first-round series against the Rockets. That was a Class 1 sprain in his right knee – the current one is 2nd class on his left – and the Warriors were on their way to 3-1 lead in the series when it happened. His bouts in the finals (where he shot 40.3 percent in the series after shooting 50.4 percent in the regular season) played a role in the team, which ran out of funds in their direct title mix.

Unlike Curry, he was quite persistent. But for a player who is not overwhelmed by a purely physical sense and creates the airspace for his shots with slippery lateral mobility, he can not afford to be physically compromised. Especially now that he's over $ 201 million in the first year of a five-year contract.

 Once again, Draymond Green defended 13 games this season.

Once again defending players larger than he has Draymond Green has missed 13 games this season. Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

Green came in league with "a bad body" in Talent Scout language, meaning he had a tendency to overweight and short on stamina. He defied this description by pure devotion in the gym and in the weight room, but he forced himself to stay slim, while the often 40 and 50 pounds heavier players had to suffer a lot of nagging injuries, not all of whom are always reporting the injury.

"We see strange things that are more about ligaments and tendons that are not getting stronger," said a former manager, who also has a championship pedigree and spoke on the wave of injuries in the league. "It's less about your innate athleticism and more about your body's underlying durability – size, tension of ligaments, bones, tendons – everything is affected by the extra torque that is produced through training to peak performance."

The Eastern Conference executive director also pointed out Unsuccessful Despair as a potential factor in downgrading the Warriors Championship's durability. For example, if the Warriors have several tough early laps and then go down 3-1 in a Best of Seven series in the Western Conference finals (as in Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016), they would do so Determination to make a comeback?

"The players would never admit it, but knowing the energy needed in such a situation makes it easy to sink the thought – & # 39; We already have two titles & # 39; and that desperation you need is just not there, "he said.

The former executive with a championship pedigree still has the warriors as favorite this year and next with the same reserve if they are healthy – but teams that miss their predicted success are not exactly a novelty ,

"There were many great teams in the league, because of injuries, bad coaching decisions, the league, referees, they call it," he said. "That's what makes the league so great, you have to play the games."

Of course, not everyone is convinced that the long list of current Warriors injuries will be an obstacle, now or later. A player who has faced the Warriors more than once in the playoffs indicated that they are just trying to gain an advantage by getting their opponents to feel vulnerable.

"They play possum," he said [19659004] If so, it's pretty complicated. If not, that is the sobering reality for those who had visions of an epic dynasty.

Ric Bucher includes the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @RicBucher .

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