Whether Kevin Durant returns for the end of the regular season or the beginning of the playoffs, the Golden State Warriors will have some adjusting to do.
That’s not to say the team will not be more dominant when Durant returns, but Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will have to sacrifice some shots which might interfere with their rhythm on offence once again.
If Durant returns on schedule, he will have three regular season games to adjust to his normal workload and prepare for the playoffs. During his 17-game absence due to an injury to his left knee, the Warriors have weathered the storm and performed well once Curry assumed his position being the first option on offence.
The Warriors have been on a 12-game winning streak, with Curry averaging 26.3 points, 8.0 assists and 49.1 per cent shooting from the field. The team has been 4.4 points better defensively since Durant’s injury and have beaten quality teams on the road.
Golden State is primed for a return to the NBA Finals and with Durant back, the team will be favored to come out of the Western Conference. The San Antonio Spurs seem to be the only team that will be able to offer some resistance on the road to the finals.
The empirical evidence suggests that Durant will affect the team’s flow on offense, but that will not keep the Warriors from dominating the West in the playoffs, as their talent and star power will eventually prevail over ball-sharing and offensive schemes.
The Warriors seem to be on a collision course with the Cleveland Cavaliers and are eager to rectify last year’s collapse in the NBA finals.
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